CRAIG CONNELLY: When it comes down to it, American words start from the stands

CRAIG CONNELLY – seven-time Ryder Cup caddy: When it comes down to it, US verbals kick in from the stands – there’s abuse and it’s making it hard for anyone to focus

  • Sore losers can stand a chance – things about your nationality and your family
  • It’s the kind of stuff we’ve heard footballers complain about, no matter how bad
  • You don’t care if it’s witty or if it’s real jest…
  • Sunday is epic because you celebrate or drown your sorrows











Craig Connelly has won seven Ryder Cups, including four in the US.

Here, the Scot – who looked after Paul Casey and Martin Kaymer – recalls tales of obnoxious American fans ‘staring’ as chatter turns to abuse and reveals what European players can expect from the galleries in Whistling Straits over the next three days.

It’s actually okay on the first day. It’s when it gets to the core – that’s when the verbals tend to kick in. It can be anything. Sore losers taking a pot shot. Things about your nationality, about your family.

Craig Connelly (left) has won seven Ryder Cups for the likes of Paul Casey (right)

Connelly recalled stories of obnoxious American fans 'gazing off' during the match

Connelly recalled stories of obnoxious American fans ‘gazing off’ during the match

The kind of stuff we’ve heard footballers complain about, no matter how bad. It’s just bullshit and it’s a small minority, but it does have an impact.

Some of the worst I heard were aimed at Danny Willett, and that was hard because it was his brother who tried the American fans (Pete Willett described the crowd as “a barking mob of imbeciles” ahead of the 2016 tournament at Hazeltijn ).

It had nothing to do with Danny, but it didn’t matter. A lot of it was just abuse. Disgusting abuse. It made it difficult for everyone to concentrate, including Martin.

Connelly has also done caddi for European player Martin Kaymer, who sealed the famous comeback in Medinah in 2012.

Connelly has also done caddi for European player Martin Kaymer, who sealed the famous comeback in Medinah in 2012.

You don’t mind if it’s witty or if it’s real jest, and some of it is. You’d turn to the crowd after a good one and say, “Okay, you’re 1-0 ahead of that,” but it gets nasty there.

It’s a minority, but there have been times when the level of abuse has been too high and I hope that doesn’t happen and we can enjoy the spectacle.

In previous tournaments in the US, in Oakland Hills (2004) and Valhalla (2008), the Europe guys have done a great job of silencing the public from the start, but I think the landscape has changed for people who attend golf matches. Society has changed, that has changed everything.

Medinah (2012) was rowdy and considering Chicago is a sports city, you’d expect it. Whistling Straits isn’t too far from there, so maybe we’ll see it again. You have to deal with it. Have a ‘bring it on’ attitude. It urges you. You want to silence them.

In previous tournaments in the US, in Oakland Hills (2004) and Valhalla (2008), the Europe guys have done a great job of silencing the public from the start, but I think the landscape has changed for people who attend golf matches. Society has changed, that has changed everything.

I’d stare at people going over the top but before I did I’d make sure there was a cop to dodge behind!

Europe will have to deal with the rowdy American crowd - you just want to silence them

Europe will have to deal with the rowdy American crowd – you just want to silence them

The Europeans are smart and have done their best to win over the public. They ask you not to, but if you go for a practice round, they will always stop and sign autographs.

Those practice rounds can be fun. Lots of jokes are made – practice almost gets in the way! It’s been a long week, so you might as well enjoy it before the serious work begins.

In 2004 (fellow caddy) Billy Foster lost control of his cart and nearly threw it away. Some fill each other’s bags with extra waterproof clothing, change the headgear, loosen the top of the bag so that the clubs can go anywhere if you pick it up.

But that all stops now and the hard work begins. Sunday night is going to be epic because you’re either celebrating or drowning your sorrows quickly.

The Europeans are smart and have done their best to win over the public with the cheese heads

The Europeans are smart and have done their best to win over the public with the cheese heads

The Americans join us and at Hazeltine we finally partied together, although we stole their champagne in Medinah! I think this one will be very close. Lots of tight sessions and a scoreboard going back and forth, with Europe on the edge.

Not sure what I’m going to do in the end, I don’t know if I’m going to watch it, but I hope I’ll be back in Rome. Martin no longer wants to go to the Ryder Cup without his clubs.

CRAIG CONNELLY SPEAK WITH MIKE KEEGAN

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