I think this past weekend’s Ryder Cup in Chaska, Minnesota might have taught our little running sport a valuable lesson. America kicked Europe’s ass 17-11 to win the tiny goblet for the first time since 2008. But Team USA seemed to be helped by a tinge of Ugly Americanism floating through the alcohol-doused Hazeltine Golf Club.

The swagger and banter from behind the ropes seemed to bolster the Yankee Doodle Dandies of Captain Davis Love III.  And remember this is the upper Midwest where all the nice people are from. Imagine if they were playing at Bethpage Black in New York or Baltusrol in Jersey. But the USA had been beaten in three straight Ryder Cups, so frustration was pent up.

Anyway, I saw Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy go into the crowd once to confront some jackass. And the NBC broadcasters commented a couple of times about “a few bad apples”.

Thing is, golf fans don’t normally display bully-boy tactics at the weekly PGA Tour events. In fact, they are usually the soul of hushed reverence, which golf has somehow imposed on the paying attendees. Jackassery just comes out during these team competitions when it’s the good ole US of A against the whiney wimps from across the pond.

But what really pinged on my radar was an article written for National Club Golfer magazine by Peter Willett, brother of 2016 Masters champion Danny Willett of England.

P. J. Willett had his plus-fours in s bunch, and went on something of a screed lambasting the hometown bozos for their crude behavior toward the European boys. Among other things, he called the Ryder Cup fans “a baying mob of imbeciles,” and referred to American fans as “fat, stupid, greedy and classless”. And that was just his opening salvo.

I’m telling you, this is what running needs, drunken fanboys and screed-writing relatives. It’s all too damn polite the way it is now. Where’s the anger?  Who are the louts?  What about the wicked glee at the missed putt of another?  We have appreciative fans, yes, but not many face-painters outside college cross country.

It is rich, though, how upset an Englishman can be with bad fan behavior displayed abroad, as if the kings of the trade aren’t enthroned in the football capitals of the U.K.

People are looking at all the negative implications of a potential D. Trump presidency in terms of decorum and taste — just imagine how he might redecorate the White House.

“No, the newly commissioned Orange Room has to go between the Red Room and the Green Room. We’ll just have to move the Blue Room.”

But look at the bright side. Talk about taking the wraps off. You want to set loose some real boorish behavior? Just wait till that lunatic starts giving wedgies to visiting foreign heads of state in the East Room after a state dinner.

Come on Chicago, you’re up next. Let’s hear it!





  1. You forgot to mention how the heckler made the long putt after a $100 challenge from one of the British players, Toni! It made the highlight TV reels for days… Closest thing we have to those hecklers is the anonymous posters on the message boards. Some of them can get pretty bad, if not down right ruthless….and that is the risk when you allow people to post mean garbage in anonymity without a real name. I have never like that about LRC but they refuse to change that facet of their message boards.

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