Europe dreams as Fleetwood Mac helps them to hot start

Fans in the stands before the foursomes on day one of the 44th Ryder Cup at Marco Simone (Zac Goodwin/PA)
Phil Casey, PA Golf Correspondent, Rome

There is always one who spoils it for the rest, or two in the case of the first tee at the Ryder Cup.

As Scottie Scheffler stood over his ball and prepared to get the biennial contest under way, one spectator felt that would be the perfect time to puncture the silence with a shout of “You stink Scottie” at the top of his lungs.

Another decided that a fake sneeze was just what was required, but at least kept it relatively quiet and the world number one was able to send his drive high into the blue sky and watch it nestle in the left-hand rough.

Ryder Cup
Fans in the stands before the foursomes on day one of the 44th Ryder Cup at Marco Simone (Zac Goodwin/PA)

The unwelcome reminder of fans heckling Brian Harman on his way to a resounding Open Championship triumph at Royal Liverpool in July were thankfully not repeated for the remaining three matches, with Harman himself partnering Rickie Fowler in match two.

Boos for the American pairs were mixed with applause from both European fans and the contingent of travelling supporters who bravely attempted a rendition of the Star Spangled Banner at one point, although none of them should be expecting a recording contract any time soon.

Vice-captain Nicolas Colsaerts couldn’t accept one if it was offered anyway, the Belgian screaming himself hoarse with cries of “Europe” which were bellowed back in kind from the packed grandstand.

He did at least master the timing on the ‘thunderclap’ made popular by Iceland’s football fans during the 2016 European Championship, making sure to leave enough of a gap between each clap before building to a suitable crescendo.

Jon Rahm
Jon Rahm celebrates making a birdie on the third hole during the Foursomes on day one of the 44th Ryder Cup at Marco Simone (Zac Goodwin/PA)

The three Bob MacIntyre fans with one letter of their hero’s first name adorning their blue t-shirts had to make do with a cameo appearance from the left-handed Scot, who had been left out of the opening session.

But the five Swedes in similar attire for rising star Ludvig Aberg were delighted to see their man partnering Viktor Hovland in match two, the FedEx Cup winner providing the first fireworks by holing an audacious chip from the apron of the first green.

The biggest cheers were reserved for the final European pairing of Tommy Fleetwood and Rory McIlroy, the latter having famously said “I just can’t wait to get another shot at this” in a tearful interview during the 19-9 thrashing at Whistling Straits.

After two tumultuous years in men’s professional golf, McIlroy had finally got his wish.