Act­ing like gentle­men is so 20th cen­tury

Trash talk spreads in ad­vance of tour­na­ment

Baltimore Sun - - SPORTS - By Teddy Green­stein

CHASKA, MINN. — I thought this was a gen­tle­man’s game, a sport of hat re­movals, hand­shakes and $2 Nas­saus.

A golf clap is tame, right? And isn’t this the sport in which play­ers call penal­ties on them­selves and the TV com­men­ta­tors whis­per into their mi­cro­phones?

Against this back­drop, the Ry­der Cup has some­how be­come a bub­bling cal­dron of trash talk.

The in­sults that got ev­ery­one’s at­ten­tion Wednes­day at Hazel­tine Na­tional came from P.J. Wil­lett, the brother of Danny Wil­lett, the Masters cham­pion from Eng­land.

P.J. called Amer­i­can fans a “bay­ing mob of im­be­ciles” — a catchy phrase that re­quired me to look up bay­ing (“howling, es­pe­cially with a deep, pro­longed sound”).

More from P.J., whose piece ap­peared on Na­tion­al­Club­ The Euro­peans “need to si­lence the pudgy, base­ment-dwelling, ir­ri­tants, stuffed on cookie dough and pissy beer, paus­ing be­tween mouth­fuls of hot­dog so they can scream ‘Baba booey’ un­til their jelly faces turn red. They need to stun the an­gry, un­washed, Make Amer­ica Great Again swarm, des­per­ately grip­ping their con­cealed-carry com­pen­sators. ... They need to smash the ob­nox­ious dads, with their shiny teeth, Lego man hair, med­i­cated ex-wives, and re­sent­ful chil­dren. Squeezed into their cargo shorts and boat­ing shoes, they’ll bel­low ‘get in the hole’ whilst high­fiv­ing all the other mem­bers of the Den­tists’ Big Game Hunt So­ci­ety.”

It’s all ob­vi­ously satir­i­cal, some­thing P.J. im­plied in sub­se­quent tweets. But we’re an eas­ily of­fended so­ci­ety these days, so Danny Wil­lett apol­o­gized in­stead of ask­ing, “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

Danny said he told his brother he was “ob­vi­ously dis­ap­pointed” be­cause “the Amer­i­can fans took me un­der their wing fan­tas­ti­cally back in April.”

Euro­pean cap­tain Dar­ren Clarke called the piece “very dis­ap­point­ing ... That is not the way we view things.”

Min­nesotans are some of the most po­lite peo­ple on Earth, but Wil­lett now has a tar­get on his back.

Then again, isn’t ev­ery Ry­der Cup player — and cer­tainly ev­ery cap­tain — un­der the mi­cro­scope?

U.S. cap­tain Davis Love III has been tak­ing flak for call­ing the Amer­i­cans the “best team, maybe, ever as­sem­bled.”

Love said his com­ments were taken out of con­text, that he was merely say­ing what English­man Danny Wil­lett apol­o­gized for his brother’s trash talk about Amer­i­cans; other in­sults flew back and forth. he would tell his play­ers to fire them up. But Europe’s Rory McIl­roy re­sponded by say­ing the Love line pro­vided mo­ti­va­tion.

Then there was NBC-Golf Chan­nel an­a­lyst Johnny Miller de­scrib­ing Europe as “on pa­per, the worst team they’ve had in many years.”

Clarke’s re­sponse: “We have the Masters cham­pion [Wil­lett], we have the Open cham­pion [Hen­rik Sten­son], we have the Olympic cham­pion [Justin Rose] and we have the FedEx cham­pion,” McIl­roy.

They’ve also won six of the past seven Ry­der Cups, in part be­cause the Amer­i­cans love to bicker and ques­tion the abil­ity of their cap­tains.

Phil Mick­el­son un­dressed Tom Wat­son two years ago and on Wednes­day he took aim at Hal Sut­ton, who paired him with Tiger Woods in 2004. The oil-and-wa­ter combo got flushed in both of its matches.

Mick­el­son said the pair­ing didn’t work be­cause he plays a low-spin ball and Woods plays a high-spin­ner: “So I tried to learn his golf ball in a four- or five-hour ses­sion. ... It forced me to stop my prepa­ra­tion, to stop chip­ping and putting and sharp­en­ing my game and stop learn­ing the golf course. ... The cap­tain is the whole foun­da­tion of the team. You play how you pre­pare.”

Sut­ton fired back, telling Golfweek mag­a­zine: “I think Phil bet­ter get his mind on what he needs to have it on this week in­stead of on some­thing that hap­pened [more than] 10 years ago. ... It couldn’t be their fault. It had to be some­body else’s fault. It had to be Hal Sut­ton’s fault.”

In­deed, ev­ery­thing is some­one else’s fault.

Isn’t that right, you bay­ing mob of im­be­ciles? Hazel­tine Na­tional Golf Club Chaska, Minn. TV: Fri­day, 7:30 a.m., Golf Chan­nel; Satur­day, 8 a.m., chs. 11, 4; Sun­day, 11 a.m., chs. 11, 4


Jer­mon Bushrod (Tow­son Univer­sity) and the Dol­phins will face the Ben­gals tonight

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