Golf

Say cheese: Team Europe court Packers fans at Ryder Cup

If you want to get on the right side of Wisconsin locals you can do two things – dress like you are a Green Bay Packers supporter or wear a giant slice of foam cheese on your head.

The European Ryder Cup team did both on Wednesday (Sept 22) as they launched a charm offensive at Whistling Straits, Wisconsin, before facing the hostile US home crowd when play begins on Friday in the biennial event.

Wearing green-and-yellow striped outfits, the 12-man European squad looked like they were getting ready to run out on to Lambeau Field, home of the NFL’s Green Bay Packers, as much as get in some practice on the links style layout.

To complete the look, the Europeans donned huge foam wedges of orange cheese before lining up for a team photo to the delight of spectators who screamed their approval.

“When we were doing the clothing, they were talking about maybe bringing some Irish colours in for me,” said European captain Padraig Harrington. “I’m not really into that sort of stuff, so I came up with why don’t we do something with Wisconsin.

“Obviously, the Green Bay Packers fit both the Irish and the Green Bay Packers, and then the cheeseheads came in and a bit of fun with it.

“Look, it’s lighthearted. You want it that way in practice.

“It’s somewhat respectful of obviously the Green Bay Packers, and they were very much on board with this, so a bit of fun and we got a nice reception with it.

“Obviously, business starts on Friday, but at the moment the players are enjoying it and having a good time of it.”

Certainly the Europeans do not expect the same reception when play gets underway on Friday with the opening four-balls.

Back on American soil for the first time in five years and with Covid-19 travel restrictions in place, the usual army of European fans will be absent from Whistling Straits, leaving Harrington’s 12-man team to face a super-charged atmosphere over the three days of competition.

“The US fans have been brilliant to far, they really have,” said European stalwart Ian Poulter, who will be playing in his seventh Ryder Cup. “They’re wishing me well. Not too well, but they’re wishing me well, which is quite nice.

“That hasn’t always been the case, but so far so good.” – REUTERS

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