AP NEWS
Related topics

Garcia’s Caddie: I Was Attacked

September 29, 1999

COLOGNE, Germany (AP) _ Boorish conduct by U.S. fans at the Ryder Cup didn’t stop at the course.

The American caddie for European Ryder Cup star Sergio Garcia said Wednesday he was attacked in a hotel bar after the tournament and had to go to a hospital with a head wound.

Jerry Higginbotham, sporting a black eye and bruised cheek, said several men taunted him because he was an American working with the European team.

``One of the guys had obviously had a bad day and had definitely had too much to drink,″ said Higginbotham, caddie this week for Garcia in the German Masters.

Police in Boston and Brookline, Mass., on Wednesday said they have no record of the attack.

The confrontation is the latest instance of hostility surrounding the tournament, in which the United States made the greatest comeback in the history of the event.

The Europeans were angered by the celebrations of the Americans on the 17th green after Justin Leonard made a 45-foot putt that led the U.S. team to victory.

The European team and British media assailed the rowdy galleries. European star Colin Montgomerie was heckled mercilessly and a fan spit on the wife of European captain Mark James.

James said European golfers might refuse to play another Ryder Cup in the United States.

Higginbotham, who caddied for American Mark O’Meara at the 1997 Ryder Cup in Spain, described the attack in the hotel bar.

``He said some things I didn’t like and I said a couple of things back to him because I’ll always defend myself,″ he said. ``And then boom, he comes up on the blind side and down I went, hitting my head on the way down.″

Higginbotham took some of the blame.

``What I should have done was walk away,″ he said, ``but the whole thing leaves a sour taste in the mouth.″

AP RADIO
Update hourly