Ryder Cup first tee a 'forever' moment

Thu Sep 29, 2016 2:34pm EDT
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By Larry Fine

CHASKA, Minnesota (Reuters) - It is an individualist game at its core, yet some of golf's most vivid moments come from the Ryder Cup and the first tee of the preeminent team competition in the sport.

The tradition, urgency and passion of the biennial match play event make the first tee a moment that resonates with the world's top players.

"There's nothing really to compare it to," said Rickie Fowler, who this week is competing in his third Ryder Cup. "Probably one of the most nerve-wracking shots you'll ever hit throughout your career is the first tee shot at a Ryder Cup."

Phil Mickelson, who this week will tie Nick Faldo for most Ryder Cups played, said: "It's truly one of the greatest experiences in the game of golf as a professional golfer to experience walking to the first tee.

"I remember four years ago walking to the first tee with Keegan Bradley for his first Ryder Cup experience, and he's teeing off, and I'm talking to him; he's not hearing a word.

"His eyes are moving all around and the adrenaline is flowing. And he hit a drive on that first hole that was 375 yards. I had a 78-yard L-wedge shot into that first hole that's 550-plus yards. That type of adrenaline rush and excitement, you just can't recreate it other than in a Ryder Cup."

Rookie Ryan Moore, added to the Ryder Cup squad as U.S. captain Davis Love III's last wild card pick after taking McIlroy to a playoff at the Tour Championship on Sunday, said he was nervous during his first practice at Hazeltine.

"I think it's something you can't really know until you've been out there," he said. "I mean, shoot, for a Tuesday, I think I was a little bit nervous on the first tee, which I don't think that's ever happened on a Tuesday in my life."   Continued...

Team USA vice-captain Tiger Woods on the driving range during a practice round for the 41st Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports