Sergio Garcia’s American wife is ready to tell her countrymen “to leave out the insults because you’re embarrassing the US” should their taunts this week descend to the level witnessed the last time the Ryder Cup was held on this side of the Atlantic.
Angela Akins intends to follow her husband here at Whistling Straits and says she is once again prepared to step in to silence the boozed-up boo brigade should their abuse cross the line. Akins feels so strongly about the issue that she has gone on CNN, the nationwide news broadcaster, to detail her disgust.
“I understand cheering for your team but let’s leave the insults out,” Akins said, before revealing how in 2016 she took matters into her own hands when one group of men began barracking her then-boyfriend.
“I said to them: ‘I’m here supporting the European team, I’m an American, and you’re embarrassing me’,” Akins said. “The people around us joined in and said: ‘Yeah, you’re embarrassing us too!’
“So I said to the guys ‘I want to see American fans being better than that’, and they said ok, then later on they saw me, they’d figured out who I was, and they came over and gave me a hug and apologised. I think there were four of them, we all hugged and it was all go.”
Akins is one of four Americans whose partners are playing for Europe this week and the organisers will afford them special dispensation to watch the games from inside the ropes and security will be with each group.
With the pandemic restrictions disallowing the vast majority of European fans from attending there have been concerns about the one-sided nature of the support and with the bars opening early the potential for disorder – if only amounting to heckling – is clear.
There were reports that veteran Lee Westwood was singled out in Tuesday’s opening practice session, although the 48-year-old has heard it all before. He joked that at Hazeltine he was called “a turd” – “I haven’t heard that since I was in the school playground”.
Ian Poulter might prove an obvious target and on Wednesday morning, he emphasised the disparity in support. “You only have to look around and all the grandstands are red – everything that you look at,” he said.
“The fans, 98 per cent are obviously going to be US fans this week. It’s difficult from start to finish. It’s hard. It’s not easy to play away from home.”
However, Poulter said that he has been warmly welcomed – so far. “There have only bee a few Europe fans dotted around the course, but I have to be honest, the US fans have been brilliant to far. They really have.
“They’re wishing me well. Not too well, but they’re wishing me well, which is quite nice. That hasn’t always been the case, but so far so good.”