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American Heckler Shows Up Pro Golfers At Ryder Cup

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Yesterday, David Johnson lived a heckler's dream. Here's what happened - the golf fan from North Dakota was watching a practice session for the Ryder Cup, which will be played this weekend in Minnesota.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Now, for you non-golfers, the Ryder Cup is a competition between European and American pros that takes place every two years. The cup has a history of attracting some rowdy fans - not rowdy by hockey-fan standards, but for golf, pretty rowdy. And yesterday, during the practice session, European golfers Rory McIlroy and Andy Sullivan struggled with a 12-foot putt.

SHAPIRO: American fan David Johnson was standing nearby, watching them miss the putt over and over. And as he told ESPN later, he couldn't contain himself.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

DAVID JOHNSON: I don't know what came over me. You know, cheering for Team USA, and they were sitting there putting, couldn't do it. So I said, well, I can do it. Give me a shot.

SIEGEL: And to everyone's amazement, David Johnson got his shot. European team member and current British Open champion Henrik Stenson pulled Johnson out of the crowd, which went wild.

SHAPIRO: So Stenson lines up a 12-foot putt for Johnson and challenges him to make it right there and then. Stenson's teammate Justin Rose, the reigning Olympic champion, slaps a $100 bill right next to the ball.

SIEGEL: We should go into golf-announcer mode.

SHAPIRO: (Laughter).

SIEGEL: Johnson had to put his money where his mouth is in front of the best golfers in the world. No pressure, right?

SHAPIRO: So, wearing a red pullover, jeans and tattered loafers, David Johnson lined up the shot. The crowd went quiet. Rory McIlroy posted video on Instagram of the moment as Johnson took the biggest putt of his life.

(SOUNDBITE OF VIDEO)

(CHEERING)

SHAPIRO: He nailed it.

SIEGEL: Johnson pumped his fists like Tiger Woods. He was immediately embraced by the Euro golfers who had put him on the spot.

SHAPIRO: Afterwards, a delirious Johnson described to a reporter from The St. Paul Pioneer Press what was going through his mind before he took the shot.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

JOHNSON: I closed my eyes, swallowed my puke and hit the putt, and it happened to go in, so that was cool.

SIEGEL: Swallowed my puke? Is that what he said?

SHAPIRO: Golf claps, please.

SIEGEL: (Laughter). The words of David Johnson, the amateur golfer who, for one brief moment, showed up the pros. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.