Justin Thomas: 'Tiger is the reason I love golf'

Elena Summers
September 30, 2018

"I've seen three in person, including the one in Wales when I played in the Junior Ryder Cup, but I'm very excited to be this side of the ropes", said the 2017 USPGA champion.

Woods, back in the competition after missing the last two, is in hot form and it looks a formidable partnership with this year's Masters champion Reed. Open champion Francesco Molinari, world number two Justin Rose, four-time major victor Rory McIlroy and reigning Race to Dubai champion Tommy Fleetwood lead a good European team but a home win would be considered a minor upset. First team to 14.5 points of the 28 available wins.

Europe Captain Thomas Bjorn said Tuesday he had a "good feeling" about his rookies, who all qualified automatically.

That's a good sign since he's finished inside the top 25 in three of four Players Championship starts, including a T-3 in 2016.

It's about who they become playing under a flag, for a tour, and playing for each other.

"I think it's going to be one of the most fantastic experiences in any sport being on that first tee, " European captain Thomas Bjorn said.

The first tee shot at a Ryder Cup is widely regarded as the most nerve-wracking in golf and players this week will be surrounded by the biggest first-tee grandstand ever seen in the event. Le Golf National won't have a tunnel but they'll have a ton of fans ready to go nuts on Friday.

The 42nd Ryder Cup is nearly here. But Americans haven't won in Europe in 25 years, something Mickelson wants to change in what is likely his last chance as a player.

But it's not about names. The competition was initially between the United States and a British representative team, with the first official tournament held in 1927.

Woods asked Williams, who is 17 years old and from Peterborough in England, if he would be conflicted when the Ryder Cup begins Friday.

Seeing and doing are obviously very different, and he has as much to prove as any other rookie with the USA squad looking to end its 25-year road losing streak.

The Americans showed that at Hazeltine, the first year after the Ryder Cup Task Force meant to build a model of continuity.

The European Tour, maybe hoping to drive out as many European fans as possible after losing to the United States two years ago, has built a enormous grandstand on the first tee that will sit up to 6,900 patrons when the tournament kicks off. "The best way to do that is go out and have some fun and try to play some good golf and do it the right way".

Rickie Fowler: No competitive rounds at Le Golf National. Brooks Koepka spent the Saturday night before his first U.S. Open victory on the phone with Dustin Johnson (it wasn't a long conversation). I'm not really from Texas, so we don't wear a lot of 10-gallon hats in Pennsylvania. Rarely do you see two really fiery guys paired together or two real stoned guys together.

"We have the analytics team in place and they have opinions on why guys match up well together from a statistics standpoint. They spend a lot of time together, and it seems like the togetherness is just a little bit more than maybe it used to be back in the '90s and early 2000s". Or will the European side continue what has been a dominant stretch of six Ryder Cup victories in the last eight opportunities? It has reason to feel like one in France with such a loaded lineup the Americans offer.

Bjorn said he would accept a split of the morning matches considering he has four rookies playing, though he hopes for more.

Spieth expects some par celebrations this week instead of birdie binges that were enjoyed in the USA 2014 win at Hazeltine. Tony Finau, whose PGA Tour average drive this season is over 315 yards, admits he will hit driver only between four to six drivers a round compared to 10 to 12 he would usually employ on courses in the US.

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