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updated: 9/29/2012 8:38 AM

What it's like on Ryder's first tee

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  • Team USA fans were out in full force on the first tee Friday morning as Ryder Cup competition got under way at Medinah Country Club.

    Team USA fans were out in full force on the first tee Friday morning as Ryder Cup competition got under way at Medinah Country Club.


The first tee at the Ryder Cup is always daunting.

Mayhem promised ... mayhem delivered.

Despite the sun providing barely any warmth -- and what little it did was immediately erased by a cool wind -- there were plenty of warm dispositions all around the No. 1 tee box at Friday at Medinah Country Club as thousands of fans in the bleachers chanted, sang, joked, cheered, waved flags and simply had a good time.

There was the "Ma-jor Win-ners" (clap, clap, clap, clap clap) chant when Americans Keegan Bradley and Phil Mickelson walked to the tee in Match No. 2 to face off against Sergio Garcia and Luke Donald (non-major winners).

There were the "Kee-gan Brad-ley," the "Ja-son Duf-ner" and the "We've got Lef-ty" chants as well as the Ryder Cup chorus grew minute by minute.

There was the time the noise died down for just a second and a lone, deep voice took advantage, asking Luke Donald, the Englishman who calls Chicago home, the following: "Luke, who's your father?"

There were a number of renditions of "Olé, Olé," the unofficial theme song of European fans. And shortly after one of those versions, one brave soul tried his best to get everyone around him to sing along to the strains of "Sweet Caroline."

Yeah, that wasn't going to happen. Not here.

There was a cold beer being snapped open at 7:30 a.m., there Team USA golfer Zach Johnson leaning over to give a thumbs-up as he walked along the bridge connecting the practice green to the tee. And, as always, there were some of the wildest outfits you'd ever want to see.

Bottom line: There was always something happening on the first tee, and when there wasn't, honestly, it was a little unsettling.

"It was a very bizarre experience," said Europe's Graham McDowell, who had the honor of hitting the first shot of the competition; unfortunately for him it was a shank to the left. "I was actually feeling very calm and very cool until I stepped over the ball.

"But I couldn't ignore the silence. The silence was deafening, and it made my mind go."

The roars returned when Jim Furyk, a veteran of the Ryder Cup first tee pressure, hit the first shot of the day for Team USA. The result, however, was the same as Furyk also missed the fairway to the left.

Ah, but the game was on, with three full days of play and chanting ahead.

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