RYDER CUP: The scary first tee shot

European heroes on the most intimidating shot in the game – the opening drive of the Ryder Cup

“I’m not sure if that opening shot will ever go away. I still wake up with wee shivers. It wasn’t great. you’re standing there and everything’s moving apart from the ball…”
Paul Lawrie, Brookline, 1999

“Poulter warned me what it would be like. We had a good, long chat walking up to the tee. I thought I was prepared for it but nothing can prepare you for that roar, and to have everyone say ‘there’s only one Ross Fisher’ and ‘come on Europe’, it was pretty amazing.
Goal No. 1 was to get the ball on the tee peg and I managed to do it the first time.”
Ross Fisher, Celtic Manor, 2010

“It was nice to find the fairway. I really worked hard on my breathing and visualisation and just tried to trust it. Like Nick (Faldo) said to us, the technique is there and if you can control your tempo and your breathing you will be fine.”
Justin Rose, Valhalla, 2008

“I know the first shot I hit in the Ryder Cup. I couldn’t see the golf ball. I was just so nervous, I couldn’t even see it.
At Oakland Hills I felt great on the first tee, that was my third Ryder Cup  and I went from not being able to see the ball to not bad at The Belfry to pretty good at Oakland Hills.
The only worry I had was putting the ball on the actual tee, after that everything else was pretty solid.”
Padraig Harrington, Brookline, 1999
“I could not get the ball on the tee, it’s quite funny watching it now on television." – Lee Westwood “I think whenever Lee was going to the first tee at Valderrama, Seve passed him some cotton to put in his ear so he could not hear the crowds on the first tee. Whether he put them in, I don’t know.
On the Saturday morning I was playing with Monty against Davis Love and Freddie Couples. And I was teeing the ball, teeing it up ready to hit it and I made sure I teed it up a little bit higher to just hope that I made contact with it on the way down.”
Darren Clarke, Valderrama, 1997

“I played with Bernhard Langer in the opening foursomes. He was down to hit the first shot.
When we eventually got to the tee, there were 80,000 people watching, lining the hole.
Bernhard asked me, the rookie, how I was feeling. I told him I was fine.
He said: ‘Good, you can hit the first shot.’ Then I was sh!&ting myself!”
Ronan Rafferty, The Belfry, 1989

“I could not get the ball on the tee, it’s quite funny watching it now on television.
I look quite calm and collected and I almost look like I know what I’m doing.
But my hands were shaking and my eyes glazed over a little bit, and it was obviously a completely different experience to the one I had been used to.”
Lee Westwood, Valderrama, 1997

“It was unbelievable. I have never experienced anything like that at a golf tournament before. I was just happy to make contact with it.”
Rory McIlroy, Celtic Manor, 2010

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