Could Bethpage-Style Heckling Reemerge At Merion?
The thought was met with general acceptance by Johnny Miller, Gary Koch, and Peter Jacobsen, who joined him on the panel, which got us thinking: are we prepared for what the U.S. Open crowds may have in store? It's no secret that Philadelphia fans are notoriously, shall we say, tough (not even Santa Clause could avoid their wrath), and with Merion resting neatly in the city's suburbs, how popular a player is with the fans could play an amplified role in either helping--or hurting--their chances of winning golf's second major of year.
It doesn't help that Garcia is one of those in the middle of the controversy. He's been heckled at a number of different tournaments throughout his professional career, among them the 2002 U.S. Open at Bethpage, which eventually culminated in a sly middle finger to the crowd from Garcia, and a warning from the USGA to fans before the 2009 U.S. Open (which was also held a Bethpage) to behave. So, could we see something similar to Bethpage at Merion this year? Or perhaps even something worse? We'll have to wait and see.
(Getty Images photo)