Why Steve Stricker is OK with (sitting players) Justin Thomas and Daniel Berger chugging beers on the first tee Saturday: ‘I thought it was great.’

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HAVEN, Wis. — Justin Thomas and Daniel Berger may have started the celebration prematurely when the two U.S. Ryder Cuppers, who were sitting out Saturday’s afternoon Four-Ball session, chugged beers on the first tee at Whistling Straits.

This stunt whipped the crowd into a frenzy. But what did U.S. Ryder Cup captain Steve Stricker think of it? While it probably took them out of consideration for the Nicklaus-Jacklin Sportsmanship Award, Stricker didn’t seem too concerned that it could provide a jolt of much-needed energy to the European side.

“I was in trying to grab some lunch, but you know, to be quite frank with you, it looks like they are having a good time and enjoying the experience,” Stricker said after the session. “We get ridiculed for being too tight and all that, and then we do something like that where it looks like our team is together and having a good time and trying to get with the crowd. I thought it was great. It’s kind of a Milwaukee Bucks thing where, if I’m not mistaken, I’ve seen ‘Chug a Beer’ on the JumboTron at the Milwaukee Bucks games, and it’s something that’s kind of a Wisconsin tradition, I guess, whether it’s good or bad. It just looks like they are having a good time.”

Indeed, it did, especially with Thomas spiking his beer can like this wasn’t his first rodeo. Fans begged for vice captains Fred Couples and Phil Mickelson to do the same to no avail.

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Team USA leads Europe 11-5 heading into Sunday’s 12 singles matches. It’s a margin that has never before been overcome and given the party atmosphere at the first tee on Saturday, there could be quite the celebration at the U.S. team hotel on Sunday if the Americans go on to claim the Cup.