left_rail_ryder_cup_partner
Westwood first tee s
Lee Westwood leads Europe off in the singles (Getty Images)

Magic Monday conjures up great start

The ‘Sunday’ Singles are taking place on a Monday for the first time in the contest’s history after heavy rain wreaked havoc on the schedule at The Celtic Manor Resort, but thousands still turned out to cheer on the Europeans, who lead 9½-6½ heading in the final session.

Sarah Gwynn, European Tour Editorial Staff

Lee Westwood received a hero’s welcome to the first tee as Europe began their quest to regain The Ryder Cup on an unprecedented fourth day.

The ‘Sunday’ Singles are taking place on a Monday for the first time in the contest’s history after heavy rain wreaked havoc on the schedule at The Celtic Manor Resort, but thousands still turned out to cheer on the Europeans, who lead 9½-6½ heading in the final session.

Many of the fans had likely taken last minute days off work, or even pulled a sickie, and by the sounds of it they were delighted to be watching The Ryder Cup instead of experiencing the Monday morning blues.

One by one, Europe’s Vice Captains stepped on to the tee, as if arriving separately to milk to adulation of the fans and enjoy a few moments in the spotlight. The loudest cheer was reserved for Captain Colin Montgomerie as he marched forward, lapping up the applause and choruses of ‘We love you Monty, we do’ and obliging to ‘Monty, give us a wave’.

Westwood, taking on Monty’s mantle as the leader in the singles matches, has played brilliantly so far, winning two and halving one of his matches. He did not disappoint as he kicked off proceedings by smashing a drive straight up the middle of the fairway to the delight of the spectators.

The Englishman’s opponent, Steve Stricker, was also well placed off the tee and the hole was halved, and then popular Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy sparked a new round of songs and cheers by arriving on the tee.

The supporters came up with ‘You’ve got Big Mac, we’ve got Little Mac’, and when a small section of Americans tried to start a chorus of U-S-A, they were shouted down with cries of ‘Europe’ and ‘He’s got more hair than you’ referring to McIlroy’s voluminous barnet.

McIlroy, buoyed by his fourballs win with Graeme McDowell yesterday, dissected the fairway with a ripper of a drive, following Stewart Cink down the middle, and opened with a birdie to take an immediate advantage.

Luke Donald was equally impressive off the first tee, responding to shouts of ‘Luuuuuke’ – not to be mistaken for booing - by producing a beauty of a drive and an ultimate half with Jim Furky.

Germany’s Martin Kaymer received as warm a welcome as his British team-mates, although he appeared more nervous, finding the fairway with his drive but then going in two bunkers to bogey the hole and go one down to Dustin Johnson.

Judging by the number of Irish flags adorning the edge of the stand surrounding the first tee, we could be in for a deafening cheer when Padraig Harrington heads out against Zach Johnson in the penultimate match.

©2003-2012 The PGA of America / Ryder Cup limited / Turner Sports Interactive. All rights reserved.
Turner Entertainment Digital Network RYDERCUP.com is part of Turner Sports Digital, part of the Turner Sports & Entertainment Digital Network.