Lee Westwood critical of USA fans’ behaviour

Europe’s Lee Westwood has pointed the finger at United States captain Paul Azinger for the ‘shameful’ behaviour of some of the home fans during the 37th Ryder Cup. The Englishman was unhappy with fans cheering when European players missed putts and with the constant abuse he received throughout the three days of golf.

Lee Westwood believes that Paul Azinger’s comments about ‘cheering when they miss a putt’ before the tournament had started can be blamed for some of the negative behaviour. Lee Westwood went on to say that a number of fans don’t know the difference between cheering on their team and ‘abusing the opposition’ and that essentially it is ‘down to the captain’.

The first thing people will think about these comments is that is a case of sour grapes on Lee Westwood’s part. Well, I am extremely confident that this is not the case. The player admitted that Europe had been outplayed and that the United States produced some excellent golf. It was quite simply, the behaviour of a minority in the crowd that disappointed him. He did receive a ‘particularly nasty comment’ about his mother after all and that has no place in sport.

Having watched the Ryder Cup as a fan of Europe, the thing that incensed me the most was the players pumping up the crowd before the European players had taken their shot. Yes, it’s good to see so much passion in golf – but it should wait until both teams have played their shots. That’s my opinion anyway and I’m sure Lee Westwood would agree.

Overall, defeat is a bitter pill to swallow, but it just seemed destined to be an American victory from the start. The crowd obviously played their part and although there were obviously some isolated incidents, I think the atmosphere was phenomenal. Justin Rose – who was making his Ryder Cup debut – even said it was the closest he would come to being a Premiership footballer!

It is onto Wales in two years time and with the crowd behind Europe this time, I’m confident that the golf odds will favour a victory for the Europeans. I’m also convinced that a great deal more respect would be shown to the American players when they miss a putt.

USA win 37th Ryder Cup at Valhalla, Kentucky

The result of the 37th Ryder Cup at Valhalla Course, Kentucky:
16½ Europe 11½

Paul Azinger done a first class job as USA Team Captain in bonding a team of underdogs as they squared up and ultimately beat a very strong 12 man European team.

Azinger had requested that the Valhalla course in Kentucky be ‘easy to play’, allowing for high quality golf and plenty of birdies.  Prasie should be given for this move as it certainly allowed for golf of the highest quality to be played by both sides.

USA led from day one and as with recent Ryder Cup matches, the crowd were “up for it”.  Football-style chanting, a bit of sledging and a little over excitement from certain players helped create a magnificent sporting event. I was on the edge of my seat for most of the three day event and absolutely gobsmacked at the sublime level of the golf played by both sides.

The first two days included Foursome and Fourball matches, and for me it was Phil Mickelson for the USA and Ian Poulter for Europe that stood out above the rest.

At one point Mickleson played an absolutely peach of a shot from the edge of a green when he took a full swing with a lob wedge.  The ball just rolled past the hole after hurtling towards space for what seemed like a shocking 10 minutes or so.  And Ian Poulter silenced any critics over his captain’s pick by winning 4 points in 5 matches, and in doing so being the best European player throughout the entire weekend.

Local Kentucky heroes J.B. Holmes and veteran Kenny Perry received fanatical support playing in their first Ryder Cup, but it was the country boy from Florida, Boo Weekley who got the most rauchous cheers of “Booooo” and “Boo S A!”.

Weekely started in high spirits, riding his club down the 1st fairway in a mock Kentucky Derby fashion to stir up the USA support got things off to a great start, though Lee Westwood suggested this was disrespectful and earned an apology from Weekley the following day.  This outburst may well have been the reason for Lee Westwood suffering personal abuse all the way round the course.  Westwood said after the defeat that the excitement of the crowd adds to the Ryder Cup but personal insults directed at his mother are not acceptable.

The European team trailed by just two points heading into the third and final day with 12 Singles matches to make up the deficit and set a new record of four Ryder Cup wins in a row.  Eyebrows were raised when the European Singles order was announced as Europe Captain Nick Faldo was criticised for supposedly sending his ‘big guns’ out last.

Afterwards Nick Faldo was gratious in defeat and said the plan had failed by one match.  He felt if Europe could go into the last four games level, then Europe would finish the stronger; and I agree.  But for everyone to challenge Faldo when he sent Sergio Garcia out first is over the top.  The truth of the matter is that Europe’s so-called ‘big guns’ – Sergio Garcia, Padraig Harrington and Lee Westwood simply didn’t perform over the whole three days; and it was left to Ian Poulter and rookies such as Graeme McDowell and Justin Rose to fight the European challenge.

In fact, if Sergio Garcia had beaten Anthony Kim in the opening match, then things would have certainly panned out completely differently.  As it was, Garcia had his ass whipped by young rookie Anthony Kim in a match that saw heated debate on the first green as to who should hole first, and at one stage a referee called in to separate the caddies!

Sergio attempted to play mind games with Kim which only upset the crowd and ultimately affected Garcia’s game.

With the tension building my favourite shot was local boy J.B.Holmes’ tee shot on the 17th.  Pumped up and playing to win the match Holmes, ready to shoot deer, took a quick look down the fairway and slugged the most awesome drive in a baseball-cum-Happy Gilmore-fashion.  The drive was perfect, hitting the centre of the fairway and leaving only a wedge to the green.

J.B. Holmes and Boo Weekley may have looked like extras from The Hills Have Eyes, but they sure know how to play golf!

Ryder Cup 2010

The Celtic Manor Golf Course in Newport, Wales – home to the Ryder Cup 2010 – was criticsed earlier this year for being too easy to play.  I hope the course and the European Ryder Cup Captain, whoever that may be, considers how entertaining this years’ Ryder Cup was, due in part to the set up of the course itself. Ryder Cup betting will be interesting that’s for sure!