Medinah gallery criticized by Ryder Cup winners

PAUL LAWRIE: Fans’ target
PAUL LAWRIE: Fans’ target

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland — Paul Lawrie wasn’t just battling Brandt Snedeker as Europe won the Ryder Cup. He also had to contend with the Medinah crowd.

Lawrie, the oldest player on Europe’s team at 43, lost his opening fourball match Saturday before beating Snedeker, 5 and 3, in the biggest singles victory on Sunday. But the Scot was unhappy at the behavior of the Chicago gallery, and said captain Jose Maria Olazabal dealt with the issue in meetings at the start of last week.

‘‘I didn’t get abused, but you get comments like: ‘Top it! Shank it! You’re going to lose.’ Stuff like that on every shot you play,’’ Lawrie said Wednesday. ‘‘Every single shot you hit last week, that’s what you get. So apparently that’s how it is.’’

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‘‘Jose Maria made it clear — don’t even look at them, don’t take them on. Certainly don’t react. Don’t make on as though it’s hurting us. Just hit your shot and walk on. It’s pretty tough when someone is screaming and blowing in your ear that you’re a loser. But there’s not much you can do. Which makes it all the more satisfying on Sunday night when you’re standing there with the Ryder Cup in front of you and they are not.’’

Lawrie said it had happened to him before in the United States, but that Europe’s fans could be just as bad.

‘‘That was the same the last time I played in the Ryder Cup in ‘99, and I think they [US team] said it’s the same when they come here,’’ Lawrie said.

Europe retained the cup by winning, 14½-13½, after starting the final day with a 10-6 deficit.

Lawrie, who joins Ryder Cup teammates Martin Kaymer and Peter Hanson at the Dunhill Links Championship this week in St. Andrews, has been installed at 16-1 by British bookmaker William Hill to lead Europe in 2014 at Gleneagles. Paul McGinley is the 11-10 favorite.

‘‘I don’t think I will be offered the captaincy. But if they did it’s a tough decision to make because not many people would knock it back,’’ Lawrie said. ‘‘I would have to look at it and see that you’re presently 28th in the world, so I’m not sure that’s captain time.

‘‘I am kind of thinking I want to play in that 2014 team.’’

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For Michael Phelps, the atmosphere at the Ryder Cup was unlike anything he experienced at an Olympics. The most decorated Olympian and golf enthusiast was at Medinah last week, and said the fan support for the home team made ‘‘the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end.’’

‘‘Being able to go out in that environment on that course was something that I have never experience before in my entire career,’’ said Phelps, who is playing in the Pro-Am Alfred Dunhill Links Championship this week in Carnoustie, partnering with former Ryder Cup player Paul Casey.

‘‘Of course, I had many Olympic team experiences, but nothing compared to last week’s Ryder Cup being on home soil. Fans were crammed 10 to 12 deep down every fairway every single day and just going crazy.’’