We all love a bit of banter. It’s what Paddy Power is built on. Give it… but be able to take it.
Sergio Gracia overstepped the mark mid-week when he resurrected Fuzzy Zoeller’s 1998 slur after Tiger Woods had won his first Major by claiming that Woods at his first Masters dinner might serve ‘fried chicken or collared greens … or whatever the hell they serve’.
Both subsequently apologised but here are some of the top 15 put-downs in sports by masters of their trade.
1. Bestie tells it straight
“He cannot kick with his left foot, he cannot head a ball, he cannot tackle and he doesn’t score many goals. Apart from that he’s alright.”
George Best sums up the many talents of David Beckham.
2. Brandes hits McGrath for six
Q: “Hey, Brandes, why are you so fucking fat?” A: “Cos every time I fuck your wife she gives me a biscuit!”
Aussie paceman Glenn McGrath and Zimbabwean Eddo Brandes‘ killer response.
3. Botham bowls Marsh over
Q: “So how are your wife and my kids?”A: “The wife’s fine, the kids are retarded.”
An exchange between Rod Marsh, the Australia wicketkeeper, and Ian Botham, the England all-rounder who replied.
4. Mr Hurley before Liz got hold of him
Shane Warne: “I’ve been waiting two years to make you look stupid again.” Daryll Cullinan: “You look like you spent it eating.”
Cullinan’s biting put down to a portly Shane Warne.
5. Fergie’s not pasta his prime
“When an Italian tells me it’s pasta on the plate I check under the sauce to make sure.”
Sir Alex Ferguson gives his views on the Italians.
6. Just not cricket
“Oi, Tufnell, can I borrow your brain? I’m building an idiot.”
A spectator to England spinner Phil Tufnell.
7. Gazza, have you a message for Norway?
“Yes. Fuck off, Norway.”
Paul Gascoigne when asked by a Norwegian television network and asked if he would care to send a message to Norway.
8. Equal pay not Krajicek’s priority
“Eighty per cent of the top 100 women are fat pigs who don’t deserve equal pay.”
Richard Krajicek, the 1996 Wimbledon champion, on why there should not be equal pay. Later, he clarified his comments, saying, “What I meant to say was that only 75 per cent are fat pigs.” Charming.
9. McEnroe gets an umpire in his sights
“You can’t see as well as these fucking flowers – and they’re fucking plastic!”
John McEnroe to a line judge at the US Open in 1980.
10. Barker gets up close and personal
“You were 33-1 to win the Six Nations this year. Now you are 16-1. If you can keep Henson out of Church going into it, what are the chances?”
Sue Barker makes an ill-judged joke in 2005 when speaking to the Wales rugby head coach about his star player Gavin Henson, who had started dating Charlotte Church.
11. Ali pulls no punches
“Joe Frazier is so ugly he should donate his face to the US Bureau of Wildlife.”
Muhammad Ali’s taunt before their first heavyweight title fight in 1971 that Joe Frazier took very personally – particularly when Ali then called him an Uncle Tom.
12. Carlton Palmer football genius
“He covers every blade of grass, but that’s only because his first touch is crap.”
Dave Jones on Carlton Palmer’s footballing skills.
13. Roy’s Keane to have his say
“You were a crap player, you are a crap manager. The only reason I have any dealings with you is that somehow you are manager of my country and you’re not even Irish, you English ****. You can stick it up your bollocks.”
What Roy Keane allegedly said to Mick McCarthy, the Ireland manager, that got him sent home from the 2002 World Cup. Keane is now a ‘respected’ pundit.
14. Feherty putts Furyk down
“Like an octopus falling out of a tree.”
David Feherty, the former Irish golfer, passes comment on Jim Furyk’s swing.
15. Pep’s talk a knock-out blow
“Lie down so I can recognise you.”
Willie Pep, the American featherweight boxer, when asked by an old opponent if he recognised him.”