Spirited start on soggy day at Celtic Manor
NEWPORT, Wales – Dustin Johnson hit the Ryder Cup’s opening tee shot in the dim light of a gloomy Wales morning.
A gentle drizzle fell as Johnson hit the tee shot, adding a new element to the Ryder Cup’s myriad challenges. The weather didn’t dampen the spirits of a boisterous crowd, which made the grandstand encircling the first tee look like a football stadium.
They waved flags, sang songs and heartily chanted “Eur-ope!” An ambitious American who tried to start a “U-S-A!” chant was quickly drowned out by boos.
The drizzle turned to a downpour as the final matches teed off, making a suspension of play seem imminent. Pools of water quickly gathered on greens and fairways, and thick rough became virtually unplayable.
The wild weather made for some bizarre scenes. Padraig Harrington hit his approach to the first green as the group ahead stood around the green, waiting for the putting surface to be squeegeed.
“This isn’t much of a day to play golf,” Butch Harmon said on Sky Sports. “It’s more like survival.”
The conditions clearly favored Europe. The United States’ Steve Stricker and Tiger Woods each needed four shots to reach the green on the par-4 first hole. Europe took a 1-up lead in the first three matches. The teams of Ian Poulter-Ross Fisher and Rory McIlroy-Graeme McDowell each won the first hole with par.