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.
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