Masters champion Danny Willett probably didn’t envisage apologizing to American golf fans ahead of his Ryder Cup debut.
That’s exactly what he did two days before teeing it up in the 41st Ryder Cup.
Willett, who is expected to play in Friday’s opening foursome session alongside Lee Westwood, was forced to issue an apology after elder brother Pete insulted American golf fans in a supposedly satirical article for a British golf magazine.
Pete Willett called U.S. golf fans cretins and imbeciles, among other things, in the piece.
“I’d just like to apologize obviously to everyone involved for what’s been said,” the Masters champion told Golf Channel. “It’s obviously not the thoughts of myself and of the team and of captain Darren (Clarke).
“I spoke to him (Pete) on the phone after I was made aware of what was said and what has been going on. I said to Pete that, you know, I was obviously disappointed in what was said and what was written about the American fans that obviously took me under their wing fantastically back in April.”
The article and ensuing reaction on social media made it hard for Willett to play his Wednesday practice round.
“It is tough to then concentrate, because you don’t want people to think badly of yourself,” he said.
“It was tough then to kind of get your head around everything. You kind of wanted to get off the golf course and hopefully get it sorted.”
Willett went out of his way to apologize to U.S. captain Davis Love III.
“As soon as I got done on the golf course, I went to see Davis, and me and Davis had a chat for a few minutes about it all,” Willett said. “He took it very well, and I think he’s drawn a line under it obviously for himself and for the team. So hopefully everyone else can do the same and hopefully we can get on and have a great tournament.”
Willett will hope his brother’s ill-timed and ill-thought prose does not come back to haunt him once the matches get under way at 7:35 a.m. CDT on Friday.