Chaska - A controversial commentary insulting US Ryder Cup supporters written by the brother of Masters champion Danny Willett prompted an apology on Wednesday from the Englishman making his Europe team debut.
Pete Willett, writing for the website NationalClubGolfer.com, described American fans as "those fat, stupid, greedy, classless bastards."
Another section under the sub-heading "Bastards" alluded to "the type of golfer that's a vice-captain for Team USA."
Calling US supporters a "baying mob of imbeciles" and "a giggling group of reprobates," he added, "Team Europe needs to shut those groupies up.
"They need to silence the pudgy, basement-dwelling irritants, stuffed on cookie dough and pissy beer, pausing between mouthfuls of hotdog so they can scream 'Baba booey' until their jelly faces turn red.
"They need to stun the angry, unwashed, Make America Great Again swarm, desperately gripping their concealed-carry compensators and belting out a mini-erection inducing 'mashed potato,' hoping to impress their cousin.
"They need to smash the obnoxious dads, with their shiny teeth, Lego man hair, medicated ex-wives, and resentful children. Squeezed into their cargo shorts and boating shoes, they'll bellow 'get in the hole' whilst high-fiving all the other members of the Dentists' Big Game Hunt Society."
After the venom flowed, it was Willett the major winner who was hailed last April at Augusta National, becoming his brother's peacekeeper.
"I would just like to apologise obviously to everyone involved for what has been said. It's obviously not the thoughts of myself and of the team," Willett said.
"I spoke to (Pete) on the phone after I was made aware of what was said. And I said to Pete that I was obviously disappointed in what was said and written about the American fans that obviously took me under their wing fantastically back in April."
Willett met with US captain Davis Love after his practice round to apologise.
"Me and Davis had a chat for a few minutes about it all and he took it very well." Danny Willett said. "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 we can get on and have a great tournament."
It will be the reactions of US spectators, beer and hot dog fueling optional, in their actions toward Willett and his teammates that determine the fallout from the mess.
"Everyone that plays in this team plays in America most weeks," Willett said. "It was tough then to kind of get your head around everything. You wanted to get off the golf course and hopefully get it sorted, draw a line under it and get back to what we're doing."
LOVE 'IGNORED THE NOISE'
US captain Davis Love said he "ignored the noise" by not reading the story.
"If I read it, I'm just going to get mad," Love said. "So I just try to ignore it."
He noted US crowds have been loud already, saying, "It's four holes into a practice round and they are cheering and screaming. Just wait until Friday when it's for real."
Europe captain Darren Clarke called Pete Willett's comments "bitterly disappointing."
"It is not what Danny thinks. It is not what I think. It is not what Team Europe stands for," Clarke said. "The article was beyond our control."
Spectators that Clarke has praised for days could turn 18 holes into a nightmare gauntlet for Europe.
"That's not the way that we view things," Clarke said. "The fans could not have been nicer and better to us this week, and hopefully that continues."
'HARD-FOUGHT BUT FAIR'
Gamesmanship and other issues arose as well on Wednesday, with Love and Clarke having settled some. Pin placements are done by the PGA of America.
"We were going to get out of the business of the home team setting the pins and the other team not knowing," Love said. "It has been a more fair way to handle it."
As for mental moves between match rivals, Love said, "Letting a guy putt out a couple times, things like that, that's part of match play and a lot of it's done with a wink and a jab. We play golf together all the time. We're friends and we compete against each other.
"It will be hard-fought but fairly fought."