The first tee at any Ryder Cup is a nerve wracking experience. Here, Tommy Fleetwood explains the emotions he felt when he teed it up at Le Golf National.
Tommy Fleetwood – “I Felt Like When I Walked On The First Tee I’d Achieved Something Huge”
There is no denying that sportsmen get nervous, and, when you’re faced with more than 7,000 fans crammed into a colosseum like the 2018 Ryder Cup, you could forgive some first tee jitters.
Someone who didn’t seem to suffer from this was Tommy Fleetwood, who, despite making his Ryder Cup debut at Le Golf National in 2018, revealed he “had a nice experience”.
“For me I had a lucky first tee experience because all you hear is so many, I would say, horror stories,” said Fleetwood.
Watch: Tommy Fleetwood Q&A
“You’ve never seen anybody miss the ball, but like people go on about ‘well they couldn’t put the ball on the tee’ or ‘I was seeing three balls and I had to hit the middle one and I didn’t know what to do, grip felt like a baseball bat’, things like that and I felt fine.
“My goal for two years had been to be on that first tee on Friday morning and I felt like when I walked onto the first tee I’d achieved something huge in my career. That kind of relaxed me for one.”
Another factor to Fleetwood’s calm demeanour was that just over a year prior he had actually won on the Le Golf National layout, claiming his third European Tour title at the HNA Open de France.
“There was so many familiar things that kind of relaxed me,” reminisced the 30-year-old.
“It’s still like a very tough experience. I was watching the guys at the Solheim Cup and they’re all hitting a fairway wood, which isn’t the club I’d choose, to be honest with you. I’d just want to peg the driver up and smash it somewhere and get on with it from there.
“I think Olazabal told me a great story when he was walking to the Ryder Cup and he was nervous as anything and he was playing with Seve.
“Seve put his arm round him and just said ‘Look, make contact and we’ll deal with it from there’ and I felt like Seve was probably the most comfortable person, because you could feel that I can hit this anywhere and I’ll be fine. It’s just a completely different experience to anything you ever get.”