In the United States, the golfers who won the Ryder Cup were heroes, and the 30,000 spectators cheering them on were "boisterous fans." The angry British media had a slightly different term for the Americans at Brookline on Sunday: "United Slobs of America."
That banner headline in today's Daily Mirror summarized the British reaction to the cheering, stomping and heckling that accompanied the dramatic U.S. victory over Europe's best on Sunday. The papers acknowledged the stunning American comeback, but concluded that the win was a "tainted triumph," as the Times of London put it.
Much of the ire was aimed at "loutish" and "jingoistic" fans, with their endless chants of "U-S-A!" and their constant taunting of European stars such as Colin Montgomerie and Jose Maria Olazabal. Most papers described this as typical American boorishness, but the Daily Telegraph said the real problem was the setting: "The Boston area is infamous for fans who cannot handle their alcohol but can handle any form of profanity."
British sports fans can be as boorish and as loutish as anybody, but today the British papers said American golf fans are even worse. "Football hooligans act better than the way the Americans have treated the Ryder Cup," argued the Mirror.
But the harshest criticism was aimed at the American players, who were blamed partly for stirring up the crowd and partly for violating the game's gentlemanly traditions with a stomping, fists-in-the-air victory dance on the 17th green--before Olazabal had a chance to line up the 30-foot putt that might have tied the hole.
Sam Torrance, the European assistant captain, called that outburst "disgusting." Torrance took a particularly harsh slap at American Tom Lehman, who was one of the golfers cavorting on the 17th. "He calls himself a man of God, but that was a disgrace," the angry Torrance said.
London's Evening Standard concluded that the U.S. team managed "to win a cup but lose all dignity."
"Perhaps the Europeans' real victory here, unlike their hosts," said the Standard, "was to treat this as a golf tournament and not like a substitute for war."