Soren Hansen and Sergio Garcia sign autographs during practice(Getty Images)

Team spirit already there for Europe

By Steve Todd-

Print News

Nick Faldo believes his European Team is once again showing the legendary team spirit that has led to three successive victories against the United States as his players bid to claim a historic fourth win in a row.

Addressing the assembled media at Valhalla Golf Club on Tuesday following the players' first practice round, Faldo was glowing about his Ryder Cup experience so far as European Captain -- and hailed his Team's togetherness ahead of their Ryder Cup defence.

He said: "I love being big mother hen to this lot. It's really great. They're a special bunch. Even the wives are joining in. Everybody is into it.

"As Europe has always proved, the team spirit is instantly there. We have to juggle so many things of how I even play the guys tomorrow, because I've got to fit in with three to go to one press conference, three go to another one and all sorts.

"It's a constant juggling act. And I get thoughts at three o'clock in the morning, and I'm like, oh, great, here we go. But I'm loving it. I'm just going to be on hyper drive until I collapse.

"It was kind of a surreal day yesterday after so much thinking about it and after finally heading to the airport," he added. "It was a special day, travel with the team, and now we're off and running. It's just a great feeling, it really is. I'm just loving every minute of it."

Faldo and Vice Captain Jos� Maria Olaz�bal gave the players a group pep talk on the first tee prior to their practice round to help them visualise the pressure of their opening tee shots on Friday.

"It was about familiarity, really," he said. "As we've said, or talked about, the Friday morning is different. Once again, it's another different emotion. It was a good moment (on the first tee). It was great that Sergio Garcia joined in and Lee Westwood joined in, Padraig (Harrington) as well. Everybody shared a few little thoughts.

"It went a lot further than I expected. It was my idea to go down. I was very big on visualization, and if you can see what you've got to do you could then take that straight to the range. You can visualize that first tee shot, and off you go.

"I'm delighted the guys took it more than two steps further. We really had a good little chat for whatever we were there for, five, ten minutes, and that was really productive. The team are really tight together - it's great."

Faldo then chose to send the players out in groups of three -- something he said the Team had backed themselves.

He said: "Today was day one as a practice day - just get out there and play, get themselves acclimatised. I've always personally found when you're doing a lot of chipping or putting around the green, four is a crowd; there's always balls going everywhere. The guys were happy with that (playing threeballs). We decided collectively that, yeah, let's go and have a look at the golf course, get the feel of things."

Europe's Captain was not unduly worried by his first impressions of the set up at the Valhalla course, which took a battering from gale force winds on Sunday.

"Unfortunately they've had to work doubly hard after the storm went through," he said. "But the golf course is like a normal Tuesday golf course, and with three days to go, we kind of predict it's going to dry up and firm up and speed up and all those sort of areas."