‘I do not know if I can do it’

SHEBOYGAN, Wis. — First-tee jitters are a factor. However on the Ryder Cup, they escalate to a stage that makes for appreciable discomfort amongst skilled golfers. They’ve executed this a whole bunch of instances, caught a tee within the floor to start competitors.

The Ryder Cup, although, is totally different.

Maybe it’s due to the workforce facet. Actually the truth that 18-hole match play will not be the identical as a 72-hole match is an element.

After which there’s the setting, far totally different from the usually genteel scene the gamers see week in, week out.

The grandstands surrounding the primary tee at Whistling Straits on Friday might be crammed to capability, possible from earlier than the solar even rises.

Those that have performed in a Ryder Cup say that first tee shot is not like something they’ve ever confronted. And that is coming from main champions, completed execs.

Ryder Cup contributors, People and Europeans, previous and current, inform their tales from the primary time on the primary tee.

First Ryder Cup: 2018 at Le Golf Nationwide, Paris
The way it went: With companion Jordan Spieth, Thomas received his first match 1 up over Paul Casey and Tyrrell Hatton. He went 4-1 general, and defeated Rory McIlroy in singles.

“It was, palms down, essentially the most nervous I’ve ever been. It does not even evaluate to as nervous as I used to be in the course of the PGA [Championship, which he won in 2017] or as nervous as I have been successful golf tournaments. It’s only a whole out-of-body expertise. One of the simplest ways to clarify it to individuals … I hit a 5-wood off the primary tee and I do not put it on a tee once I do this. I simply form of put it on the deck. I form of dig a little bit factor within the floor with my membership and I am going to set it up on that.

“I’ve at all times stated if I needed to put it on a tee, I do not assume I may have. I might have been too nervous, to the place I might not have been capable of get a ball on the tee.

“That is once I was very, very glad to have Jordan [Spieth] as my companion and somebody to calm me down. The stress, it is a privilege, you need to have the ability to really feel that. If you happen to did not really feel that, I imply, then there can be no purpose for me or any of us to be enjoying.

“That is why I turned professional, that is why I’ve gotten right here is to be enjoying in a Ryder Cup and to have these experiences. If you happen to’re by no means getting that second, you by no means be taught. However that was fairly nuts.”

First Ryder Cup: 2018 at Le Golf Nationwide, Paris
The way it went: With Paul Casey, Hatton misplaced 1 as much as Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. He went 1-2 general, with a singles loss to Patrick Reed.

“I used to be fairly nervous on the vary, to be trustworthy. We talked about that within the workforce room early within the week. The skilled guys talked about their very own experiences. The primary factor was it is OK to be nervous. Everybody goes to be feeling that manner. I had a very good warm-up, which actually helped. I had my dad there, who’s my coach. I used to be placing it within the positions that we wish to see within the backswing. Rhythm was good. That really calmed me down. Having a very good vary session. I used to be capable of benefit from the first tee much more.

“The expertise of strolling down … the ambiance, it was fairly particular. It is so noisy. After which whenever you’re moving into the ball, you would actually hear a pin drop. I feel I used to be genuinely smiling over the ball. It was superb. I hit a very nice tee shot, which was nice. Felt superb to see a very good shot and stroll off that tee.”

First Ryder Cup: 2014 at Gleneagles, Scotland
The way it went: With companion Patrick Reed, Spieth defeated Ian Poulter and Stephen Gallacher 5 and 4. Spieth went 2-1-1 general, with a singles loss to Graeme McDowell.

“I keep in mind it was essentially the most nerve-racking shot I ever hit. [Patrick Reed went first and skied his first tee shot.] I do not know if that calmed me down. It may need helped. If that was the case I do not actually keep in mind as a result of I used to be so nervous I do not know if I knew what anybody did on the primary gap. I’ve a portray of that first tee shot, it is one of many coolest issues that I’ve as a result of it was in all probability essentially the most nerve-racking shot of my life.

“It was my first time ever in an away area. One thing in regards to the 40 levels, fog rising. The solar is simply developing there in Scotland, you hear the echoes from the gang and all of the chants. And you are like, ‘What am I about to stroll into?'”

First Ryder Cup: 1999 at The Nation Membership, Brookline, Massachusetts
The way it went: With companion Jesper Parnevik, Garcia defeated Tiger Woods and Tom Lehman 2 and 1. Garcia went 3-1-1 for the week, with a singles loss to Jim Furyk.

“I did not hit first. It was foursomes and I performed with Jesper [Parnevik] and he hit first, which clearly helped. However I can let you know from three years in the past in France, regardless that it was a 3-iron … with the water on the left and excessive tough on the proper, it is nerve-racking. Very nervy, little question. You wish to begin properly. It is already nervy simply because it is the Ryder Cup. You wish to hit a very good tee shot. And in case you’re enjoying foursomes you wish to put your companion in a great spot.

“Even in case you play one or play none or play 15 Ryder Cups, you continue to get nervous on the primary tee. It is simply the great thing about it. So simple as that.”

First Ryder Cup: 2004 at Oakland Hills, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
The way it went: With companion Darren Clarke, Poulter misplaced to Tiger Woods and Chris Riley Four and three in Saturday four-ball. He went 1-1 general, with a singles win over Riley.

“I did not play Friday. [Captain] Bernhard [Langer] at all times had the plan to maintain myself and David Howell from that Friday. I used to be on the tee to watch for in all probability three of the 4 matches. And what was comforting greater than the rest was to look at everybody else wrestle to place the ball on the tee peg.

“When you’ll be able to form of really feel that rigidity, and form of hear the thrill or adrenaline or no matter you wish to name it, and you’ll bodily see that occuring with everybody else. Phil [Mickelson] and Tiger [Woods] — neither of them hit a fairway. It is a daunting place to be in. We have all stated it via the years. There isn’t any greater stress tee shot than the primary one on the Ryder Cup.

“Why? Simply every little thing that goes across the Ryder Cup. The buildup. The excitement. The wish to make the workforce. The conclusion of who you’re enjoying for. All of that form of involves a head. You have to pony up and hit one down the center.

“When it got here to Saturday morning, it was nonetheless daunting, however I knew what to anticipate.”

First Ryder Cup: 2014 at Gleneagles, Scotland
The way it went: With companion Jordan Spieth, Reed defeated Ian Poulter and Stephen Gallacher 5 and 4. Reed was one of the best American participant for the week, going 3-0-1 with a singles victory over Henrik Stenson.

“It is brutal, simply brutal. I popped mine up. I had 3-wood and I hit hybrid or a 3-iron to the inexperienced. I made par. Everybody else had wedges and I had 3-iron. That calmed me down, going forward making par on that gap. You are like, ‘Wow, actually. I simply did that?’ Attempting to not look and see in case you made a sky mark on the 3-wood. As soon as I did not, I hit a high quality iron shot there, off the races. That is the most important factor. You might have the fellows there behind you, attempting to select you up, attempting to calm you down. When you get on the market and begin going, you begin stepping into simply golf and what you are used to.

“The extra you’ll be able to take the scenario out of it and what it’s really is … it is nonetheless only a 3-wood off the tee. Begin interested by that scenario and that is when the nerves kick in. You need to simply get in your personal area.”

First Ryder Cup: 1997 at Valderrama, Spain
The way it went: Westwood and Nick Faldo misplaced to Fred Couples and Brad Faxon 1 up in four-ball. Westwood went 3-2, with a singles victory over Jeff Maggert.

“I had Nick Faldo as a companion. That made it a little bit bit simpler. We had been enjoying Fax and Freddie. I genuinely assume we had been all nervous. I watched Freddie’s and Fax’s palms teeing the ball up. And so they had been shaking as properly, in order that made me really feel extra snug. I simply assume it will get constructed up. You are representing your nation, your continent. The Ryder Cup is an enormous deal. When it comes round, you do not wish to let anyone down. Simply getting that first tee shot out of the way in which is at all times good.”

First Ryder Cup: 2004 at Oakland Hills, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
The way it went: With companion Davis Howell, Casey defeated Jim Furyk and Chad Campbell 2 and 1 in Saturday four-ball. Casey went 1-1 for the week, shedding in singles to Tiger Woods.

“He put us on the primary tee on Friday to ensure we may take within the ambiance regardless that we did not play. You take a look at it now — we had been all s—-ing ourselves. Nevertheless it was nothing just like the grandstands we now have now. It was a small grandstand. And we had been nonetheless bricking ourselves. There’s been a number of instances in my life I’ve frightened about making contact with the golf ball and searching like a idiot. And that was one in every of them. Langer was superb: ‘Boys, you are right here for a purpose. Breathe and smack it down the center.’ He was good like that. You need to breathe and never s— your self. And I thinned it down the center.”

First Ryder Cup: 2010 at Celtic Manor, Newport, Wales
The way it went: With companion Phil Mickelson, Johnson misplaced to Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer Three and a pair of. He went 2-1 general, with a singles victory over Kaymer.

“I used to be nervous for certain. I feel all week, I had hit a 3-wood off the primary tee, nevertheless it was early within the morning and I used to be undoubtedly feeling it standing on the primary tee. Taking part in with Phil, I feel we had been the primary group out. I used to be hitting the primary tee shot after which there was no manner I used to be hitting the 3-wood. I used to be hitting the motive force, the most important membership within the bag, simply because if it was the rest I may not have hit the ball. I do not assume I hit it superb, however I made contact with it. Undoubtedly settled down a bit after the primary tee shot. Particularly over there. You get on the primary gap, they’re singing songs and it is a actually neat expertise. Nevertheless it was my first Ryder Cup and I used to be undoubtedly feeling it.”

First Ryder Cup: 2018 at Le Golf Nationwide, Paris
The way it went: With Francesco Molinari, Fleetwood defeated Tiger Woods and Patrick Reed Three and 1 in a really profitable partnership that noticed the duo go 4-0. Fleetwood went 4-1 general, with a singles loss to Tony Finau.

“I really had a pleasant first-tee Ryder Cup expertise. You hear horror tales, do not you? I felt all proper. I used to be nervous. We had been the final group out and also you hear all of the roars going via and also you see all people’s tee shot earlier than yours. However once I really obtained there, I felt all proper. I really felt fairly good.”

First Ryder Cup: 2008 at Valhalla Golf Membership, Louisville, Kentucky
The way it went: With companion Ian Poulter, Rose defeated Stewart Cink and Chad Campbell 1 up. He went 3-1 general, with a singles victory over Phil Mickelson.

“Faldo was the captain. He form of paid loads of respects to the primary tee shot. He took us all down there as a workforce on Thursday to try to think about it and visualize it. Nick has at all times been, in his personal sport, into visualization. I feel he thought that might be a useful train. I feel it was useful, nevertheless it additionally elevates the anticipation of it. There’s nothing like the primary tee shot on the Ryder Cup on Friday morning.

“I feel there’s been an enormous distinction between enjoying Friday morning or enjoying Friday afternoon. The crowds mellow fairly a bit. That anticipation that first morning is unbelievable. You get there and it is a actually early begin to the Ryder Cup. The primary tee time is, say, 7:30 a.m., however you arrive on the course at 5:45 to begin your breakfast, heat up. Already the stands are packed. You are already beginning to hear the chanting occurring. All via your warm-up, you are listening to the primary tee. It is like calling your identify. The buildup towards it’s one thing you’ll be able to’t actually put together for. You need to suck in a few deep breaths greater than you usually would. Commit and hope for one of the best.

First Ryder Cup: 1995 at Oak Hill Nation Membership, Rochester, New York
The way it went: With companion Corey Pavin, Mickelson defeated Bernhard Langer and Per-Ulrik Johansson 6 and Four in afternoon four-ball. He went 3-Zero general, with a 2-and-1 singles victory over Johansson.

“I keep in mind it. I performed with Corey Pavin. I used to be very nervous. [It was] finest ball. It was good to have two pictures and have a companion again you up. I preferred enjoying that one first as a substitute of alternate shot the place you have obtained no person to cowl you in case you hit a nasty shot. And Corey made a 60-footer on the primary gap for birdie. The roar and the power and the adrenaline that got here speeding via my physique when he made that putt was as thrilling as may be. After which it form of settled in. You then settle down from that. We had been wonderful and ended up enjoying properly and received our match. I loved having a companion like Corey who had been there earlier than.

“I’ve at all times felt extra stress within the Ryder Cup than anyplace ever I’ve performed. Most guys will play in a Ryder Cup earlier than they win a significant. It isn’t the case for everyone. Coping with that form of stress makes coping with the key form of stress a little bit bit simpler. Plus, you could have teammates serving to you thru it, so that you be taught so much.”

First Ryder Cup: 2010 at Celtic Manor, Newport, Wales
The way it went: With companion Graeme McDowell, McIlroy tied towards Stewart Cink and Matt Kuchar in morning four-ball. He went 1-1-2 with a half in singles towards Cink.

“As soon as you set the tee within the floor and the ball is on there, it is so much simpler. Fortunately, it was an easy-enough tee shot [and] it wasn’t like the primary tee shot in Paris. Water on the left, crap on the proper. It was a driver swing as arduous as you’ll be able to and let it go. It was fairly good.”

First Ryder Cup: 2012 at Medinah Nation Membership, Medinah, Illinois
The way it went: With Phil Mickelson, Bradley defeated Luke Donald and Sergio Garcia Four and three in foursomes. He went 3-1 general, with a singles loss to Rory McIlroy.

“The phrase that involves thoughts is scared. I used to be considering to myself once I was placing to get able to play, ‘What have I executed? I am in over my head right here.’ I did not actually put it collectively. It was going to that first tee. And I used to be petrified. I’ve by no means been actually scared enjoying golf earlier than. And I used to be scared that day. I hit top-of-the-line pictures of my life down the primary. I am pleased with that. It is nonetheless unimaginable to consider now. When in that workforce room, every little thing will get a little bit bit extra severe on that Thursday night time. MJ [Michael Jordan] got here in and gave us a speech. It will get actual fast. It is only a actually heavy, heavy second. I keep in mind driving to the course simply form of in awe of the entire scenario. It is only a huge factor for us.”

First Ryder Cup: 2002 at The Belfry, Sutton Coldfield, England
The way it went: With Jim Furyk, Cink defeated Padraig Harrington and Paul McGinley Three and a pair of in afternoon foursomes.

“I used to be speaking to Brooks Koepka the opposite day about this. I used to be enjoying with Furyk in alternate shot and I sat out within the morning. Furyk and I knew we had been going to play collectively. We had scouted the course and determined I might [tee off] the odd holes. I used to be on the placing inexperienced and I may hear all of the stuff occurring on the first tee and I stated, ‘I want you to hit the primary tee shot. I do not know if I can do it.’ I took the even holes. He hit it off the primary tee and he hit it in essentially the most excellent place for a rookie enjoying in his first Ryder Cup to hit it from.

“It was within the first minimize and teed up nearly. About 165 yards and an 8-iron. It was a dream. I hit it on the inexperienced and perhaps now I can ramp the stress down. It was a few 20-footer and Furyk runs it about Four toes previous. And I made it. That was my first gap and it settled me down fairly good. And we received the match.”

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