Golf - Europe skipper Clarke plays down crowd heckling
By Tony Jimenez
CHASKA, Minnesota (Reuters) - Europe captain Darren Clarke denied that heckling from the Hazeltine National fans had been over the top after his team trailed the United States by 9 1/2 - 6 1/2 points at the 41st Ryder Cup on Saturday.
World number three Rory McIlroy complained the partisan home crowd "overstepped the boundaries" while Ryder Cup veteran Sergio Garcia said 15 percent of the spectators had been "really bad" and that he "felt ashamed" for his American girlfriend.
Northern Irishman Clarke, however, said it was a very small minority that misbehaved.
"I think you have 99.9 percent of the crowd out there that are wonderfully respectful," he told reporters.
"You are always going to have one or two idiots who say the wrong thing at the wrong time but overall the fans have been absolutely superb to us."
Clarke was far from downhearted about the scoreline, saying he still had faith in his side.
"We have had a really strong team meeting and those guys fully believe they have the talent and desire to put a result in tomorrow," he said.
"Teams have come back from that deficit before so it's still 'game on'."
McIlroy will launch the 12 final-day singles with a match against Patrick Reed that pits the two most dynamic players of the week against each other.
"The fact that it's come out in the draw is a mouth-watering prospect for the first match," said Clarke.
(Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes)