This time, the Europeans are leaving nothing to chance.
During the first official day of practice Tuesday, they hit from the back tee on the 440-yard 11th hole. Then, vice captain Thomas Bjorn had the longer hitters stop at a forward tee that was about 350 yards away. It’s a sharp dogleg to the left, and Bjorn pointed toward a tiny gap in the trees to go over on a direct line to the green. Only the front right bunker is visible.
Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia both hit big tee shots. Garcia then teed up a ball for Graeme McDowell, who would have no chance at the green. They all laughed as McDowell slightly adjusted the ball on the tee. Bjorn did the same for all the groups. Nicolas Colsaerts, perhaps the longest hitter on either team, tried to hit the green from the back tee. He smashed driver from the forward tee, too.
Maybe the preparation will pay off.
Or maybe not.
When the Americans came through, no one went to the forward tee.
UP EARLY: Pity the European who has to hit the first tee shot Friday morning.
The Ryder Cup brings the rowdiness of a football game to the most genteel pastime in sports, and no scene figures to be more raucous than the one around the first tee before the first match. Fans will be loud and boisterous and loud and enthusiastic and, have we mentioned loud?
Europe has the honors as the visitor, so one of the Europeans will have to step up, tune out the din and settle his nerves well enough to hit the first shot of the three-day competition.
“I thought my first tee shot when I played (in 2010) was very nerve-wracking, and I just can’t imagine what it would be like to hit that first one,” Peter Hanson said Tuesday.
The Englishman didn’t have the first shot of the tournament at Quaker Ridge Golf Club. Wasn’t even in the first pairing. But he and Michael Brooks did have to start on No. 1 in foursomes, and Brooks was adamant he wasn’t going to hit their first tee shot. That left it up to Rose, then 17 and the youngest player ever to compete in the Walker Cup.
“I hit it out of bounds,” Rose said, smiling. “So the irony was … he had to then step up and hit the provisional, so he was hitting off the first tee. So I kind of enjoyed that.”View Entire Story
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