British fans enjoying themselves in Ryder gallery
BY MIKE HUTTON Sun-Times Media September 29, 2012 9:34PM
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 29: Fans watch the play on the first tee during day two of the Afternoon Four-Ball Matches for The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 29, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
Updated: November 1, 2012 9:52AM
Any patch of partially shaded ground in front of a bar would do for Mark and Kevin Farmer and Stuart Driver.
The three of them — along with five other friends nattily clad in U.K. flags — had ambled over from the first hole to Bar Toma to buy another beer.
It’s taxing work to get stopped for pictures every 100 feet by random people who dig the outfits and just want a photo — and then have to do interviews.
All eight — from Leicester, England — know how to attract attention even if they really didn’t have any idea they’d set off such an international media frenzy with the look.
They’ve appeared in newspapers back in London, on ESPN and in a local newspaper thanks to their unusual threads.
Driver, the organizational force behind the fashion statement, said the idea to wear the flags was just to show support for the European team as well as to “make sure we got interviewed.”
The outfits are indicative of one unique aspect of the Ryder Cup: These aren’t your typical, staid, buttoned-down, polo-shirt-wearing golf fans. Loud and proud is definitely part of the deal for some hard-core fans among the 40,000 in attendance Saturday.
Medinah No. 3 had spurts where it felt more like a football game — American or European — with frenzied cheering and occasional boos.
At the first hole, fans filled up the bleachers at 6:45 a.m. to stomp and scream and wave flags for the morning foursomes that teed off at 7:20.
To get a coveted bleacher seat for the afternoon times, fans arrived at least an hour early.
Ian Poulter, taking a cue from Bubba Watson, who urged crowd noise just as he was about to tee off Friday, made the same gesture Saturday on No. 1.
James Paton and Charlotte Fowler, a couple from Edinburgh, Scotland, got into the spirit just by dressing strangely.
Paton had the European Ryder Cup flag embroidered on a pair of hot yellow pants and wore some blue, yellow and white FootJoy shoes.
They were wearing blue capes, and Paton had a hat with blue, yellow and white horns sprouting out of it.
The two were attending their sixth Ryder Cup.
The theme behind Paton’s outfit?
“To look as stupid as possible,” Paton said.
Paton said he enjoys the Ryder Cups on American soil better than the European versions.
“I prefer the atmosphere,” he said. “I like to be in the minority.”
Some fans aren’t rooting for the team you might assume they’re backing.
David Vincent traveled all the way from Florence, Ky., for his first Ryder Cup. He was wearing a Poulter toupee with spiked blond hair that had nothing to do with his allegiance.
Vincent bought it because his hair was thinning, and he wanted to avoid a sunburn.
The problem for the European fans is that it looks like Sunday could be a short day for them with the Americans leading 10-6.
Only the American team in 1999 has come back to win from four back.
For the eight guys from Leicester who’ve worn their outfits every day since they arrived Wednesday, it’s not about retaining the Cup at all. They just want to have fun.
“If we win, we win,” Driver said. “If we lose, we lose. We just want to have a good time.”