Ryder Cup: Heckler takes $100 from Justin Rose - watch the video
Olympic champion challenges spectator to make 'easy' 12-foot putt
An American heckler turned hustler on Thursday and sank a 12-foot putt to relieve Justin Rose of $100 Bill.
Olympic champion Rose was getting in some last-minute practice ahead of the Ryder Cup, which tees off later today at Hazeltine National in Minnesota. But neither Rose nor his European teammates, Henrik Stenson, Rory McIlroy and Andy Sullivan, was having much luck with their putts.
As another one sailed wide of the hole, spectators David Johnson yelled: "I could have made that".
So Stenson offered the American the chance to be true to his word, handing Johnson his putter while Rose placed a crisp $100 dollar bill close to the ball. Lining up the 12-foot putt, the burly Johnson, dressed in jeans and wearing loafers, then stroked the ball towards the hole and whooped with delight as it disappeared from sight.
The European quartet looked almost as happy as Johnson, embracing the heckler as he took the applause of the gallery. "The boys were cupping out, missing it low and this guy just got the ball out and ripped it into the middle," said Rose. "Fair play to him and he celebrated in style..it's fun. We are doing what we should be doing out here, having fun. We are preparing, and we are focusing. But you have to enjoy it. That's how you get the most out of it."
Rose and Stenson will lead Europe's challenge to win a fourth successive Ryder Cup when the opening foursomes tee off today at 13.35 BST. The pair won Europe's first point at Gleneagles in 2014, but they'll face a stiff challenge from the American duo of Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed.
Meanwhile Rory McIlroy and Andy Sullivan take on Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler, Sergio Garcia and Martin Kaymer play Jimmy Walker and Zach Johnson, and Thomas Pieters and Lee Westwood go head to head with Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar.
Missing from the European line-up today is Masters champion Danny Willett, although team captain Darren Clarke insisted this had nothing to do with the abusive article written by Willett's brother earlier in the week, in which he described American golf fans as "fat, stupid, greedy, classless, b*******".
"He is fine and is disappointed like all the guys not playing, but he understands what I am trying to do is for the team," explained Clarke. "Danny may well play four times, the last being his Sunday singles match."
Today's alternate shot foursomes (and then the four fourball matches) marks the first of three days of Ryder Cup competition at the Hazeltine National with the foursomes and fourballs reversed on Saturday. The climax is on Sunday when all 12 players go head-to-head in singles matches.