Home Golf Watch: McIlroy Leads European Thunder Clap Ahead Of Ryder Cup Tee Off

Watch: McIlroy Leads European Thunder Clap Ahead Of Ryder Cup Tee Off

France’s Le Golf National erupted with huge roars as Rory McIlroy and Ian Poulter led renditions of the Viking thunder clap ahead of the Ryder Cup.

Fans packed out the imposing 6,900-capacity grandstand wrapped around the first tee as hundreds more swarmed to the grassy banks encircling the tee box well ahead of the 0610 GMT start.

Scores were left watching on the big screen with others lined up along the length of the 419-yard, par-4 opening hole on the demanding Albatros course, the first French venue to host the Ryder Cup.

 

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Justin Rose and Jon Rahm emerged first to a cacophony of cheers and chants of “Europe, Europe”, with Brooks Koepka and Tony Finau swiftly following to the delight of a smattering of American supporters.

The decibel levels were quickly ratcheted up when Finau, a Ryder Cup rookie, dragged the first shot of the competition left, flirting dangerously with the water hazard.

Rose holed a short birdie putt to immediately send Europe 1-up in the fourballs session before McIlroy and Thorbjorn Olesen made the walk down to the first tee for the second of the four matches.

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McIlroy again had the fans performing the Viking clap, before visibly composing himself ahead of teeing off in his fifth Ryder Cup, just the second in Europe held outside of Britain and Ireland.

Match-play specialist Poulter was left out of the line-up on Friday morning, but the Englishman was in the thick of the atmosphere in the grandstand surrounded by swathes of exuberant fans.

He shared a warm embrace with basketball great Michael Jordan, an avid golf fan who has been passing on his wisdom to the American team as they attempt to win the trophy on European soil for the first time since 1993.

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Close to 190,000 supporters are expected over the three days of competition, and those too late to make the first tee flocked to upcoming holes for a better view of the action.

Paul Casey and Tyrrell Hatton set off against Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas in the third match, before the entrance of star attraction Tiger Woods for his first Ryder Cup appearance since 2012.

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The 14-time major champion received warm applause on his return to the biennial showdown, in stark contrast to the loud boos directed towards Patrick Reed which prompted a sly grin from the reigning Masters champion.

© Agence France-Presse (Additional edits by Joseph McBrien)

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