Europe’s Danny Willett has said sorry for an article written by his brother in which he called American Ryder Cup fans a “baying mob of imbeciles”.
Schoolteacher Peter Willett wrote the piece for a golf magazine, offering his thoughts on what each side needs to do to win the biennial event at Hazeltine.
“The Americans need their baying mob of imbeciles to caress their egos every step of the way,” he wrote.
Danny Willett said: “I apologise. It’s not the thoughts of me or the team.”
The article, published in National Club Golfer magazine, went on to say Europe’s golfers need to “silence the pudgy, basement-dwelling irritants” and “smash the obnoxious dads, with their shiny teeth, Lego man hair, medicated ex-wives and resentful children”.
Peter Willett, who shot to prominence for his posts on social media during Danny’s Masters triumph, also wrote: “If these things happen, Europe will win, and I’ll try to support gracefully by embracing the same sense of fair-mindedness that has permeated this unbiased article.
“If not, the Americans will claim their second victory this century” and he further insulted them by calling them “fat, stupid, greedy and classless”.
Danny said he told his brother he was “disappointed in what was written” and called it “a bad article written at a bad time” that he was “disappointed to be associated with”.
As soon as he left the course, he went to see US captain Davis Love to apologise.
“He took it very well and drew a line under it and hopefully everyone else can do the same,” said the Yorkshireman.
Europe captain Darren Clarke said: “It is not what Danny thinks. It is not what I think. It is not what Team Europe stands for.
“I was obviously very disappointed in it, as well, because that’s an outside person expressing their opinion, which is not representative of what our thoughts are.”
Love said he had resisted the temptation to read the article, adding: “If I read it, I’m just going to get mad. If I read it, I’m just going to get defensive. So I just try to ignore it.”
BBC Sport golf correspondent Iain Carter
While PJ Willett’s article was largely tongue in cheek it was also inadvisable. Clarke is justifiably disappointed, no captain wants to be put on the back foot in the days leading up to the match.
It is important for away teams to make friends with home crowds and this does not help. It also means that Danny Willett will be preparing for his Ryder Cup debut surrounded by unwanted headlines.
Regardless of how the fans react, the Masters champion will do well to avoid being unsettled by this episode.
Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/golf/37500790