Presidents Cup wife criticizes sportsmanship of U.S. squad, fans at Liberty National
From a 19-11 rout to the rollicking press conference that ensued, Team USA clearly enjoyed its week at the 2017 Presidents Cup. But it wasn't quite as fun for the International Team, who, in addition to being on the wrong end of the lopsided result, had to put up with a rowdy crowd rooting against them at Liberty National.
Just how bad was it? One of the player's wives, Audrey Leishman, opened up on her personal blog with an entry titled "This is not the Tour I know." Let's just say she didn't enjoy the experience as much as, say, Jena Sims did.
Leishman's post begins with an interview Daniel Berger did with Sky Sports on Day 3 of the competition in which he said, "I mean the goal from the minute we got out here was to just crush them as bad as we can and, um, I hope that we close them out today and we go out tomorrow and just beat ’em even worse."
Leishman took exception to Berger's comments, feeling they represented a nastiness that went beyond healthy competitive spirit. Of course, she found this was most present among fans at the event.
"There were many times last week that I thought about what the kids were seeing," the American-born Leishman, who is married to the three-time PGA Tour winner from Australia, wrote. "The crowds booing for good shots and cheering for missed putts. The drinking at 7 am? Screaming “Big Easy” to Ernie Els and begging for his autograph and then yelling at his players. Heckling a wife for her beauty and then her husband for his play. I was thankful my boys weren’t there to see the way people were treating their daddy. Their hero. My parents could simply turn the television off."
International Team member Anirban Lahiri tweeted out a link to Leishman's post on Thursday:
Back to the post, Leishman shares a video of Adam Hadwin teeing off No. 1 and a fan screaming "Get in the water!" as soon as the ball leaves his clubface. Although Leishman praises her "Tour family"—both teams are comprised of players who predominantly play on the PGA Tour—for its support, especially during her health scare in 2015 when she contracted toxic-shock syndrome, she clearly wasn't feeling the love for the team she was supporting at Liberty National.
Golf is truly a gentleman’s sport. But last week was not the golf I know. During the opening ceremony, I was enjoying the Fanatics singing their songs that most people have come to love when I heard an American scream, “Speak English!”
1. What an awful and ignorant thing to say.
2. They were speaking English.
3. Half of the International Team is bilingual. How many languages do you speak?
Leishman went on to single out a few other comments for poor taste, including one fan yelling "Blooming Onion!" at her husband. As Audrey points out, the Outback appetizer does not actually come from Australia. She goes on to praise how Nick Price's International squad handled everything and the sportsmanship they displayed throughout.
By Sunday afternoon when America won, the crowd calmed down some. All of a sudden they liked our guys again. Yelling for autographs and pictures. And what did our guys do? They signed and smiled. When we were waiting on the 14th green for the closing ceremony all of us were distracted and chatting. Captain Price got our attention and asked us to start clapping for the American Team. Because that is what golf is. That is what sportsmanship is. That is why I was so proud to be part of the International Team. You will not find a kinder group of talented men.
And she wraps up by saying the week was a missed opportunity "to come together."
America has had a hard year. Last week was a chance to come together over something so simple, the love of golf. I wish we could have shown our best. With the Statue of Liberty as our backdrop, we certainly should have.
We're guessing Audrey will have a better time when the Presidents Cup goes back to Australia in 2019.