Generally speaking, professionals don’t put much credence into what hecklers say, do or think.
Thursday morning was an exception at the Ryder Cup. Rory McIlroy and Andy Sullivan were repeatedly unable to sink a difficult putt on the 6th green during a practice round, and Henrik Stenson noticed a fan hyping up his own short game in the crowd.
So Stenson pulled the heckler, David Johnson, of Mayville, North Dakota, from the gallery and onto the green. There, he would have a chance to sink the putt that McIlroy and Sullivan couldn’t. With Justin Rose’s $100 bill next to the ball, Johnson was unflappable under pressure. Bottoms.
After cracking that the putter he was handed was too short, Johnson gave himself a mini pep talk before making contact. He quipped under his breath, "Home soil, right?"
Home soil, indeed. It was a fun moment for everyone involved, including McIlroy, who was a great sport about it all:
— Rory McIlroy (@McIlroyRory) September 29, 2016
Perhaps PGA.com Facebook commenter John Veasey summed it up best, saying:
These are the things that we should be reading about not all the other drama that really makes no difference. Let's have sportsmanship and interact with the fans and be supportive to both teams. This is why golf has always been an individual sport and all of us that play the game have a responsibility to uphold that. I hope these matches will exemplify that if not for the fans then do it for Mr. Palmer......
What an event. What a moment.
Friday, Sept. 30 UPDATE**
The incredible Ryder Cup experience continues for Johnson.
Not only did the Americans sweep the Friday morning session, but Johnson has become an overnight sensation at Hazeltine. Check it out:
— Kyle Porter (@KylePorterCBS) September 30, 2016
American hero, indeed. It won't happen, but how fun would it be to see if Johnson could sink a putt in live Ryder Cup play? Nevertheless, this has been an extremely fun subplot to follow.
Details from the Associated Press were used in this story.