The Harrington-Olazabal-Garcia affair is just the latest of many rows that have taken place in and around the European Team over the years. Here, we look back at some of the most notable spats in recent Ryder Cup history.
1997: Seve Wrestles With Monty
During a famously wet Ryder Cup in his home country of Spain, Seve Ballesteros struggled to keep bored team members content during the long rain delays. The defining incident took place when Colin Montgomerie missed an episode of Coronation Street being shown in the team room, then demanded that the entire team sit and watch it again with him present.
After their refusal, Seve spent the entire rest of the week in a buggy following a disgruntled Monty on the course trying to explain to the Scot what really happened Jack Duckworth’s pigeon. It almost cost them the trophy and resulted in a protracted court battle during which both men represented themselves.
1999: Brookline and The Faldo Fax
After being left off the team, Nick Faldo, ever the European Team patriot, sent a fax to his former teammates before the final singles matches. It contained the inspiring lyrics of the chart hit “Sit Down” from 80’s one hit wonder band James. The song had been sung by the entire team at every Ryder Cup since Tony Jacklin introduced it in the Belfry in 1989 as a motivational tool.
Captain Mark James, himself not a music fan and more of a gardener, saw the title “James” on the fax and mistakenly thought it was addressed directly to him. He famously tore it up after reading the line “those who find themselves ridiculous, sit down next to me”. He claimed Faldo used it as a thinly veiled attack on his captaincy and the fact that he thought everyone from Ireland was some kind of terrorist.
2004: Langer Referees Howell Donald Scrap
Captain Bernhard Langer had to physically separate a warring David Howell and Luke Donald after Donald claimed Howell’s internet download connection speed of 56 kb per second showed “favouritism” over his 32 kbs connection.
2006: The Stenson and Karlssson Sit In
Swedish pairing of Henrik Stenson and Robert Karlsson staged a 24 hour sit in with the curtains shut in their K Club hotel room, refusing to take part in practice. They had heard Zach Johnson and Tiger Woods had access to high quality porn in the adjacent room and demanded equal rights and excellent download speeds.
2010: Rory at Celtic Manor
Ryder Cup rookie Rory McIlroy nearly didn’t make it to the first tee of the exhibition match after noticing that every other member of the European Team got a black curly wig in their kit bag while he was left completely wigless. As the story goes McIlroy fled and got as far as the outskirts of Barry Town before Captain Colin Montgomerie intercepted him and explained that the wigs “were simply a massive piss-take at Rory’s expense” and that his own natural black curls were the reason he didn’t receive a wig.