Ryder Cup 2016: Danny Willett apologises for brother's 'US fans imbeciles' rant

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Ryder Cup 2016: Darren Clarke says Team Europe not represented by PJ Willett article
Ryder Cup 2016
Venue: Hazeltine National, Minnesota Dates: 30 September - 2 October
Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live, highlights on BBC Two plus live text commentary on the BBC Sport website.

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 that 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".

"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," wrote Peter Willett, who teaches in Solihull.

"If not, the Americans will claim their second victory this century."

Peter Willett, who shot to prominence for his social media posts during Danny's Masters win, also called Americans "fat, stupid, greedy and classless".

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Inside the European locker room at Hazeltine

Danny Willett said he had spoken to his brother to tell him that he was "disappointed in what was written", calling it "a bad article written at a bad time".

However, Peter Willett did not appear to regret his article in a number of tweets from his official account, which has 24,500 followers, and indicated it was supposed to be satirical and a bit of fun.

Tweet

He also retweeted messages from American golf fans praising his piece.

Tweet

Danny Willett also 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 Englishman.

Europe captain Darren Clarke was also disappointed with the article.

"It is not what Danny thinks, it is not what I think, it is not what Team Europe stands for," he said.

"I was obviously very disappointed in it 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.

"If I read it, I'm just going to get mad," said the 52-year-old from North Carolina. "If I read it, I'm just going to get defensive. So I just try to ignore it."

Analysis

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.

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