Golf star Rory McIlroy rips abusive fans, reveals his solution


The return of Tiger Woods is drawing huge crowds to PGA Tour events, and some of the galleries have been raucous.

At the Genesis Open a month ago, Justin Thomas and Rory McIlroy both complained about heckling and shouting from boisterous fans — sometimes in mid-swing.

“There at the end it got a little out of hand,” Thomas said. “I guess it’s a part of it now, unfortunately. I wish it wasn’t. I wish people didn’t think it was so amusing to yell and all that stuff while we’re trying to hit shots and play. …

“I guess they just think it’s funny. It might be funny to them, and obviously people think of it differently and I could just be overreacting. But when people are now starting to time it wrong and get in people’s swings, it’s just completely unacceptable really.”

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The Irish McIlroy, who heard yells of “Guiness!” and “Mashed potatoes!” from the gallery, said noisy fans gave him a headache and were making Tiger’s comeback even more challenging.

“I swear, playing in front of all that, he gives up half a shot a day on the field,” McIlroy said. “It’s two shots a tournament he has to give to the field because of all that that goes on around [him]. So whether that calms down the more he plays and it doesn’t become such a novelty that he’s back out playing again because it’s — it’s tiring. … I’ve got a headache after all that.”

McIlroy has had more issues with fans at the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill this weekend.

“There was one guy out there who kept yelling my wife’s name,” he told reporters Saturday. “I was going to go over and have a chat with him. I don’t know, I think it’s gotten a little much, to be honest.”

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McIlroy suggested one possible solution:

“I think that they need to limit alcohol sales on the course.”

He suggested the strength of the spirits fans are drinking might be to blame.

“It used to be you bring beers onto the course or buy beers, but not liquor,” McIlroy said via NBC Sports. “And now it seems like everyone’s walking around with a cocktail. I don’t know whether [the solution] is to go back to letting people walking around with beers in their hands.”

After missing the cut at Riviera, Woods acknowledged the noisy hoards that follow him have hurt his game.

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“It’s cost me a few tournaments here and there,” Woods said via Golfweek. “What people don’t realize, it’s not just something that happens on Sunday afternoon, this is cumulative and it’s par for the course.”

On Saturday, Tiger again discussed the issue.

“As long as they don’t yell on our golf swings, we’re fine,” Woods said. “They can be raucous. They are having a great time. It’s fun. They are having a blast, and hopefully we can execute golf shots, but as long as they don’t yell on our golf swings, everything’s cool.”

However, he said he heard from other golfers that at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, fans “were yelling and trying to time it.”

“Well, there’s really no reason to do that,” Tiger said.

As of early Sunday, Woods was tied for 10th in the Arnold Palmer Invitational at 7-under par, while McIlroy was in third at 10-under.

Henrik Stenson was atop the leaderboard at 12-under.

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Todd Windsor is a senior story editor at The Western Journal. He has worked as an editor or reporter in news and sports for more than 30 years.
Todd Windsor is a senior story editor at The Western Journal. He was born in Baltimore and grew up in Maryland. He graduated from the University of Miami (he dreams of wearing the turnover chain) and has worked as an editor and reporter in news and sports for more than 30 years. Todd started at The Miami News (defunct) and went on to work at The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C., the St. Petersburg (now Tampa Bay) Times, The Baltimore Sun and Space News before joining Liftable Media in 2016. He and his beautiful wife have two amazing daughters and a very old Beagle.
Bachelor of Science from the University of Miami
Phoenix, Arizona
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