The Ryder Cup gets under way at Gleneagles tomorrow with the first Fourballs teeing off at 7.35am.
Eight years ago I was lucky enough to stand on the same tee at a very similar time of day. There was nobody else on the course, we were the first group out and other than the starter offering some words of encouragement, the scene was as peaceful and serene as you could wish to have.
Tomorrow there will be tension, anxiety, excitement, noise and adrenalin. No matter how experienced Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson, Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson are, I’m sure they will feel the nerves on the first tee. What I’m even more sure of, is that their tee shots will travel a lot further and straighter than ours did eight years ago!!
And then the battle commences, two evenly matched teams will compete over 3 days, battling to reach 14 1/2 points for victory. Irrespective of the fact that these players compete for millions all year round, the quest to get their hands on this 17 inch trophy will mean more to most of them, due to the responsibility that goes with representing your team and your country (or continent!).
The famous Ryder Cup Trophy
Europe have won 7 of the last 9 contests, including the most recent and most dramatic ‘Miracle at Medinah’ or ‘Meltdown at Medianah’ as it is sometimes referred. Their team boasts the worlds number one Rory McIlroy, who lifted the Claret Jug at Hoylake in July. They also have the flamboyant Ian Poulter, who they have nicknamed ‘The Postman’ because he always delivers a point. Despite never winning a Major Championship, he has the best win percentage of any Ryder Cup player who has competed four times or more – 80%.
There’s sure to be drama, and lets hope it’s as exciting as Medinah two years ago. I also hope that the result’s the same and that we get to watch Paul McGinley lift that famous golf trophy on Sunday evening!