DUBLIN, OHIO (AP) - The first tee at the Presidents Cup is equal parts fraternity kegger, sporting event, social gathering, choir practice and comedy club.
A couple of thousand people were packed tightly along three sides of the first tee at Muirfield Village for Friday’s foursomes matches. There were maybe a dozen loud, yellow-clad “Fanatics” backing the International side. Another dozen or so were clad in red, white and blue and called themselves “American Outlaws.”
The Outlaws is a collection of soccer fans at matches involving the United States at nearby Columbus Crew Stadium. The Fanatics are rabid fans from various countries who sing their own funny lyrics to popular songs.
The Fanatics, wearing yellow T-shirts, green-and-yellow argyle socks and green hats, sang, “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” to South African Ernie Els. They also made him laugh with their version of the Disney classic “The Circle Of Life,” substituting the word “golf” for “life.”
Several said they had spent Thursday night in downtown Dublin, visiting the various pubs. Dan Sullivan, executive director of the Memorial Tournament, which also is played at the course, suggested another area for nightlife on Saturday night.
U.S. captain Fred Couples played to the American fans _ who wore stars-and-stripes bandanas and hats and waved several large U.S. flags _ by walking over and asking them to “come up with something special” in the way of a song or cheer. He also asked fans where they were from and what they were doing. One said he had just graduated from college and was now a caddie on the LPGA Tour.
Jack Nicklaus, the course designer and unofficial tournament host, watched the proceedings from the other side of the tee along with PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem.
As Argentina’s Angel Cabrera posed for a group picture with the Presidents Cup before teeing off, one of the Fanatics sang, “Don’t Cry For Me, Argentina” _ causing Cabrera to quickly turn his head toward the singer and smile.
The loudest laughter at the opening tee came when the Fanatics sang, “We got the whole world … on our team.”
SAMMY MOVES ON: Sammy the Squirrel had his one day of fame.
Davis Love III found the baby squirrel on the second hole Thursday and it quickly became the team mascot. Sammy even was photographed on Tiger Woods’ shoulder.
Love was televised Friday morning putting the squirrel back into a tree.
Alas, it didn’t stay there.
Love said the squirrel jumped off the tree and onto the shoulder of a Golf Channel camera man. Eventually, he said the squirrel was taken to a wildlife shelter.