European fans hold their own in the singing stakes(Getty Images)

European fans winning battle of the song

By Michael Gibbons-

Print News

They may be outnumbered and drowned out by the constant battlecry of "U-S-A, U-S-A", by the boisterous Kentucky crowd at Valhalla Golf Club, but Nick Faldo's self proclaimed 'Barmy Army' of European followers certainly have the edge on their American counterparts in the originality stakes.

As the volume rose around the first tee on Saturday morning, the American fans rather predictably hollered their three favourite letters of the alphabet. But every time the home crowd stopped for breath, the Europeans responded with a wonderful sense of wit and humour.

As Chad Campbell, Stewart Cink, Ian Poulter and Justin Rose stepped onto the first tee to a sensational reception for the opening foursomes match of the day, the American crowd produced an unforgettable and deafening roar.

But the European response was instant: "You only sing when you're winning!" came the cry from the blue and yellow legions of fans from across the pond.

"U-S-A, U-S-A" soon silenced the Europeans as the first game of the day made its way down the fairway, but as Miguel Angel Jim�nez and Graeme McDowell moved through the masses and onto the tee, the Europeans piped up once more.

"G-Mac, give us wave, G-Mac G-Mac give us a wave!" McDowell duly obliged, much to the to delight the visiting fans. Jim�nez was next, and the super cool Spaniard doffed his cap and took a bow to an almighty cheer.

Faldo then appeared on his buggy and obliged his 'Barmy Army' with a deferential wave before Henrik Stenson and Oliver Wilson moved onto the tee. The European crowd burst into their own take on the classic Christmas carol, Winter Wonderland. "There's only one Olly Wilson, one Olly Wilson, we're walking along, singing a song, walking in a Wilson wonderland!"

Stenson, absolutely loving the atmosphere, sneaked off the tee for a good luck kiss with his wife Emma, prompting an immediate chorus of: "Henrik, give us kiss, Henrik Henrik give us a kiss!"

With the third match marching down the fairway, Kenny Perry received his usual spine-tingling reception from his hometown fans. Padraig Harrington and Robert Karlsson were then prompted to "give us a wave" by the Europeans, before Jim Furyk, perhaps feeling a little left out, gave the Europeans an unprompted wave. The American's timing was perfect in what was a wonderful moment for both sets of fans.

With an even split between the morning foursomes -- Europe dominating the top two games and the USA commanding the bottom two -- the battle of the fans was split down the middle too. The people of Kentucky are unbeatable for volume and colour, but Europe's sense of comedy and timing is bringing the contest to life.