Loud, enthusiastic cheering after good shots?
No one screaming “Get In The Hole!” at impact?
No one screaming “Baba Louie?”
No one screaming “Mashed Potatoes?”
In fact, no one screaming at all.
What the heck was going on Thursday during the first round of the WGC-Mexico?
It appeared for all intents and purposes that the patrons from The Masters, went south to warm up for the first round at Augusta National in about four weeks.
But no, these were the good, well-behaved citizens of Mexico City, coming out to see the best players in the world.
The first day crowds were larger than usual and certainly more well-behaved than their American counterparts, especially the ones seen this season in Phoenix, Los Angeles and again last week in Palm Beach Gardens.
Polite Mexicans vs. Ugly Americans.
It’s gotten ugly on the PGA Tour and this week, it looks like the guys who play golf for a living will get a look at golf decorum in action.
No doubt there’s true excitement, after all, you have the world’s Top Four players there — No. 1 Dustin Johnson, No. Jon Rahm, No. 3 Justin Thomas and No. 4 Jordan Spieth. Rahm got the week started with a $6,000 donation to the Mexican Red Cross — no truth to the rumor that he will be Spain’s next Ambassador to Mexico.
Those fans were there with more coming Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
This is big stuff.
One thing to consider is the class differences in Mexico as a country and Mexico City in particular. Nearly half (44 percent) of the country’s population lives at or below the poverty line. Huge. It’s understandable why there’s mass illegal immigration into the United States. In Mexico City, 40 percent live in poverty and unlike the United States, there’s no huge middle class, meaning most of the folks attending the event at Chapultepec Golf Club this week fall into that “well-to-do” category. They also have good manners.
Maybe we’d never notice the behavior had it not been for the bad behavior show often at PGA Tour events this season.
That bad behavior has the players’ attention. Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas witnessed it in Los Angeles, Rory had a guy booted off the property then J.T. had a run-in last week with some loudmouth at the Honda. J.T. had the guy ejected then later regretted it, figuring he should have just ignored the situation. But he was playing for a victory and what the fan did was flat out beyond rude.
This week, however, everyone looks hell bent on simply having a good time without a lot of drunken rowdiness. Drunken rowdiness has become a common occurrence back in the States. Those who don’t mind a massive hangover the next day are getting their drink on and some are getting out-of-control when it comes to this screaming stuff.
Which brings us back to Mexico City.
There’s no cut, the players are getting paid big bucks ($50,000 for last place) and the folks are jazzed about birdies.
Louie Oosthuizen treated them with a 65 on Thursday. He’s your leader.
On top of that, a bunch of WGC first-timers dared go low and show up D.J. Jordy and J.T.
Chris Paisley from England, and 21-year-old Shubhankar Sharma from India and last year’s PGA Tour Rookie Of The Year Xander Schauffele are all in with 66s in their first WGC event. Nice.
As for the big boys — Rahm did his part with and opening four-under par 67. He was the best of the big four. D.J. loped around and shot 69, J.T. sluffed off and was one-over par (72) while Jordy drained a 20-footer at the closing hole to get into red number (70).
Meanwhile, the fans held up their end. They made it enjoyable, they were enthusiastic, appreciative and obviously happy to be there.
They could put on a clinic for some of the ugly Americans we’ve seen and heard so far this season.