Finding appropriate context or comparison for the behaviour of spectators at a Ryder Cup is not particularly easy.
With four matches of this Ryder Cup complete Europe’s obituary was half-written. The USA, inspired by the legend of Arnold Palmer, claimed the first session of the event with a whitewash not seen since The King was captain in 1975.
Rory McIlroy insisted the European team mood is “buoyant” after an afternoon Ryder Cup recovery took Darren Clarke’s men from a morning deficit of 4-0 to 5-3 by close of play on day one at Hazeltine. McIlroy, who celebrated in emphatic style after converting an eagle putt on the 16th green to seal a third point for Europe, admitted to being inspired in part by a “hostile” home crowd.
The problem with golf’s time in the spotlight is the recent propensity for that focus to be negative. Never before has this sport, apparently in the midst of a scrap for relevance and identity, so needed a scintillating Ryder Cup.
Danny Willett fears he has become a “target” for American fans at his maiden Ryder Cup with the Masters champion also conceding his experience has been tarnished and his focus hard to maintain.
Darren Clarke has expressed anger after the brother of Danny Willett used an online column to attack American fans in a supposedly light-hearted way that has spectacularly backfired.
In what will be portrayed either as a motivational masterstroke or a needless act of compassion, Bubba Watson has been named as a fifth and final vice-captain to the USA Ryder Cup team.
In any list of reasons for the present popularity and high financial standing of golf, the name, and the game, of Arnold Palmer are irresistibly linked.
The closing in of Dustin Johnson on the summit of golf’s world ranking may be the least of Jason Day’s worries.
Rory McIlroy delivered the most powerful Ryder Cup message to the United States yet with a dramatic success at the Tour Championship which also ensured the Northern Irishman claimed the $10m FedEx Cup prize. At the start of Ryder Cup week Europe are the side with momentum. With the purses added together, McIlroy departed Georgia $11.5m richer than when he arrived.
There is reason Tiger Woods did not only win the Masters this year. It's the same reason Woods did not win the Grand Slam this year.
The topic which dominated post-Ryder Cup media duties for the European team had nothing to do with the concession of the trophy for the first time since 2008. Rather, the level of hostility those visitors to Hazeltine encountered from a frenzied home crowd created a narrative which will flow into 2018 and Paris. The reserved French may tone matters down.
Danny Willett has said his brother Peter’s pre-Ryder Cup criticism of American supporters was backed up by the behaviour of some supporters at Hazeltine.
There was nothing to separate Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson through 71 holes with the former Ryder Cup partners both 15-under par as they stepped on to the 18th green at the Olympic Golf Course on Sunday afternoon.
Even when broken, don’t fix it.
Tom Watson’s Ryder Cup legacy did not solely relate to the continuation of a poor United States run.
When Thomas Pieters struck his first tee shot at 11.26am local time, the 24‑year‑old became the first European rookie to play in all five sessions since Miguel Ángel Jiménez, Paul Lawrie and Sergio García at the Battle of Brookline in 1999.
Tiger Woods’s career outlook has taken its latest bleak turn with confirmation that he will not, as announced, return to competitive action at this week’s Safeway Open in California. Woods has also pulled out of November’s Turkish Airlines Open, citing the “vulnerable” state of his game.
As Darren Clarke uses this weekend to ponder his wildcard picks for the European team, with the announcement to be made at Wentworth on Tuesday, the nuances of Ryder Cup captaincy will play a part in his thinking.
Out of non-appearance comes opportunity and scope for a fairytale. It was lost in the buildup to the Turkish Airlines Open that Rory McIlroy, Patrick Reed, Martin Kaymer and others’ refusal to participate opened the door for less decorated professionals to earn a life-changing sum. First prize here is £950,000.
Europe’s tormentor in chief may well be afforded special salvation from the same continent. Patrick Reed’s leading role in the USA’s Ryder Cup success at Hazeltine has apparently enhanced the desire of Keith Pelley, the European Tour’s chief executive, to keep the 26-year-old as part of his business equation.
Golfers tend to look upon world rankings as a consequence of success rather than a key incentive. Still, some figures leap out; Luke Donald a lowly 77th, Hideki Matsuyama at a career high of No6 and, suddenly, Jordan Spieth shuffled down to No5.