Ryder Cup launched on a wave of colour and noise
By Mitch Phillips
GLENEAGLES Scotland (Reuters) - The 40th Ryder Cup began on Friday amid scenes that would have been unimaginable for those playing the first in 1927 as a packed amphitheatre produced a spine-tingling cauldron of noise and colour.
Thousands packed in and around the monster grandstand on the first tee as the morning fourballs swung into action to start three days of battle between the hosting Europeans and an American team seeking their first away victory since 1993.
On a chilly, breezy morning, the first players emerged from the specially-built tunnel to a rousing welcome, with the ubiquitous chant of "Yu-roop" ringing loud in the air from every quarter.
The tension filtered through to veteran starter Ivor Robson as, despite Bubba Watson owning the most recognisable pink-shafted driver in the game, he managed to get him mixed up and announced Webb Simpson's arrival with the words: "On the tee, Bubba Watson."
Simpson, the 2012 U.S. Open champion, laughed it off but was obviously not so calm inside as he got things going with what is likely to be the worst drive of the weekend, a 190-yard effort that dribbled into the rough.
U.S. Masters champion Watson then reprised his antics of 2012, whipping the crowd into a frenzy of noise and happily lashing his drive at the top of the crescendo - though he too missed the fairway.
Leading the choir in the grandstand were the "Guardians of the Ryder Cup", an eight-man group resplendent in tailor-made yellow and blue outfits who had personalised chants and songs for almost every player.
"Bjorn v the USA", their variant of Bruce Springsteen's anthem, greeted Dane Thomas Bjorn after an eerie silence had descended for Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson's opening drives for Europe. Continued...