‘I can’t hear you!’ 5 times golfers antagonized fans

July 3, 2019
Justin Leonard, 1999 Ryder Cup, Brookline

Alex Morgan scored the game-winning goal in the Americans’ 2-1 World Cup semifinals victory over England on Tuesday, and while her tea-sipping celebration was lauded and laughed at by many fans, some of them, mostly European fans, were irked by it.

But this isn’t just a soccer problem. This happens in every sport. With a hat tip to Morgan, here are five times some of the world’s most famous golfers have antagonized fans.

Patrick Reed becomes Captain America

Patrick Reed announced himself to the golf world with a two-win 2014, but his dynamite performance at the 2014 Ryder Cup, where he went 3-0-1 at Gleneagles, won him the Captain American moniker. Yet Reed’s Ryder Cup debut is mostly remembered for when he put his pointer finger to his mouth and shushed the Scottish galleries during his Sunday singles match against Henrik Stenson. In Reed’s defense, the home crowd was getting on him throughout the match, but he ignited the fire even more and, thus, a Ryder Cup star (villain?) was born.

The frenzy at Brookline

You probably remember this celebration — and the hideous U.S. outfits — quite well. The U.S. trailed Europe 10-6 after two days of the 1999 Ryder Cup at Brookline, but a Sunday comeback by the red, white and blue was in full force. It all culminated on the 17th green with Justin Leonard’s match against Jose Maria Olazabal, the ninth of the day. Leonard drained an unlikely putt from over 40 feet away, which stirred the U.S. team and its fans into a frenzy as they celebrated on the green. One problem, though: the match wasn’t over. Olazabal still had a putt of about 25 feet to keep the match all square. When the craziness subsided, Olazabal missed his putt and Leonard (despite losing the 18th hole and halving the match) secured the half point the U.S. needed to complete the biggest comeback in the event’s history. In the 17th-green aftermath, Europe was not pleased. Vice captain Sam Torrance even called the whole incident “disgusting.”

Justin Thomas’ win leads to FCC complaints

Justin Thomas two-putted for birdie on the first playoff hole to beat Luke List in the 2018 Honda Classic. It was Thomas’ second win of the season, and after he secured it on the 18th green he let out an exuberant “F— yeah, baby!” that was caught (and replayed) on the broadcast.

“I didn’t know that was obviously going to be on TV or I wouldn’t have said it. I’m sorry,” Thomas said afterward. “Please don’t fine me very much, PGA.”

No word if Thomas was fined, but that moment did receive its fair share of FCC complaints.

Rory can’t hear you

The best match of the 2016 Ryder Cup, and of the last several Ryder Cups, was the epic singles showdown between Patrick Reed and Rory McIlroy. They traded big shot after big putt after big shot the entire front nine, but the best scene might have been on the par-3 8th green at Hazeltine National. McIlroy, who was hearing it from the crowds all week and even had one fan thrown out, knocked in a 40-footer for birdie and went ballistic, putting his hand to his ear and screaming, “I can’t hear you!” to the U.S.-heavy gallery. But that just made the Americans cheer even louder when Reed rolled in his next putt to halve the hole.

Jason Dufner’s mic drop of a putter drop

Jason Dufner was the 54-hole leader at the 2017 RBC Heritage, but after birdieing the second hole on Sunday he bogeyed two of the next three, which led to this putter drop after finishing out on the 5th hole. Dufner wasn’t happy; and neither were fans who saw it on the broadcast. Dufner shot 76 and tied for 11th.

To receive GOLF’s all-new newsletters, subscribe for free here.