Belfast Telegraph

Monday 28 July 2014

Ryder Cup: Graeme McDowell's girlfriend Kristin Stape targeted by abusive golf fans

Graeme McDowell with his girlfriend Kristin Stape
Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy of Europe pose with the Ryder Cup
ROSEMONT, IL - SEPTEMBER 26: Justin Rose of Europe and his wife Kate Rose attend the 39th Ryder Cup Gala at Akoo Theatre at Rosemont on September 26, 2012 in Rosemont, Illinois. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Ryder Cup chiefs are investigating allegations of obscene chanting by the home support aimed at European players and their partners — including Graeme McDowell’s girlfriend Kristin Stape.

It is understood McDowell’s American partner was one of those targeted by US fans during the conclusion of the final match on Friday featuring Nicolas Colsaerts, Lee Westwood, Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker.

The nature of the abuse said to have been hurled at McDowell’s other half is unknown, but the pair had the last laugh as Europe pulled off a miraculous last-gasp victory to silence the notoriously vocal American fans.

It is believed McDowell has been dating the interior designer for more than year, although they prefer to keep their relationship out of the limelight.

Recently, though, she has increasingly pitched up to watch the 33-year-old Portrush ace in action.

The couple previously posed for pictures together while enjoying Dungannon golfer Darren Clarke’s Bahamas beach wedding in April.

Kristin also attended the European Tour Golfer of the Year Awards dinner the following month.

The alleged abuse directed at Miss Stape was one of a number of stories which surfaced over the weekend of isolated incidents involving fans shouting obscenities to the visiting players and partners during matches.

One of the most shocking incidents was one comment made relating to the late golfing great Seve Ballesteros which was picked up by television crews.

Former Ryder Cup captain Ballesteros died last year. He was a close friend of many of the Europe squad and his image adorned the team’s bags and sweaters they wore on Sunday.

Another fan also reportedly mocked Europe’s Justin Rose over the death of his father Ken from cancer.

Two young fans were ejected from the course for shouting abuse at Europe’s Colsaerts.

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