When news broke in the GM office that I’d be making my Ryder Cup debut this autumn in the US (as a spectator not as a player yet), it didn’t take long for visions of Brookline to creep into my mind. With hoards of over-excited Americans running around shouting U-S-A, I was strangely looking forward to experiencing this rather spiky atmosphere. I was ready to be intimidated.
Fast-forward to this morning and the alarm clock had been set for 6am so that Fergus and I could get to the course to be on the first tee for the opening shots. To my surprise the majority of the fans sitting in our section of the ‘bleachers’, were fellow Europeans. I was surrounded by leprechauns, dragons, tartan-wearing gingers and many others sporting the colours of their native European countries. I, on the other hand was wearing my standard issue Golf Monthly uniform. I felt hugely under-dressed.
Looking at the fans surrounding the opening tee, I’d say the Euros were out-numbered by five to three. Not a bad effort from the boys in blue and you could see the European players really appreciated their support. What’s more, a sing-off ensued about five minutes prior to the arrival on the tee of the first group. Suffice to say, we had a far more impressive portfolio of songs that culminated in a chorus of where’s your Tiger gone?
The atmosphere in the stand was extremely friendly between different sets of the fans. If anything, the Americans were impressed by the effort made by their counterparts and were happy to laugh along with the odd, cocky comment of we’re going to win 28-0.
One man, wearing a stars and stripes jumper, was ordered out of the stand 10 minutes before the opening drive by his wife who was standing, looking slightly miffed on the turf below. With his head hung, he embarked on an embarrassing and painful walk of shame. As he reached the bottom level of seating, one Scottish voice bellowed out, Where are you going? You haven’t lost yet.
Our fans may be out-numbered but they’re not going down without a fight!