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Early Ryder Cup starters wobble as Europeans feel jelly in their legs

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The Ryder Cup’s customary 1st-tee tension was ramped up further by a packed grandstand and the pressure took its toll

As Thorbjørn Olesen prepared for the opening shot of his Ryder Cup career he began to give off the sort of distress signals that any Sunday morning hacker would recognise. First came the massive gulps of air, as he tried to arrest the adrenaline raging through his body. Then, after a nervous lick of the lips – the tongue acting like a windscreen wiper on the vermilion border – and several rushed practice swings he placed his ball as calmly as he could on the tee – only to clank it into the water.

But Olesen, a player good enough to amass nearly £10m and claim five European Tour titles, was far from alone in feeling jumpy on a Friday morning ripe with anticipation and trepidation. Even Tiger Woods, with his 14 major titles, looked pensive.

Related: Old friends Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson reunite to turn the tide | Sean Ingle

Related: Ian Poulter lifts Rory McIlroy out of the shadows to brighten Europe hopes | Kevin Mitchell

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