RYDER CUP DIARY: Ferrari’s Formula One ace distracts spectators, sponsors shunt fans out the way and Rome’s taxi drivers cash-in on the opening day
- The Ryder Cup returned for its 44th edition as Europe dominated on day one
- Sporting stars and celebrities gathered in Rome for golfs biggest competition
- Mail Sport’s new WhatsApp Channel: Get the breaking news and exclusives here
The Ryder Cup returned for its 44th edition as Rome was packed out with Europe and USA supporters clamouring for a chance to see golf’s greatest competition.
Europe dominated proceedings as the Americans produced a torrid performance that left them reeling from a 6 1/2 – 1 1/2 opening day hammering.
Amongst the brilliance of golfs biggest stars there was also plenty of other talking points as sporting stars and celebrities put on their shades and stepped out at the Marco Simone Golf Club.
Mail Sport’s Mike Keegan brings you his Ryder Cup diary from an enthralling day one.
Premier League chief executive Richard Masters was among the 50,000 spectators enthralled by the action on day one. He followed Rory McIlroy and Tommy Fleetwood as Europe got off to a blistering start.
Ferrari’s F1 star Carlos Sainz and tennis superstar Novak Djokovic (right) were spotted at the course by eagle-eyed supporters
Premier League chief executive Richard Masters was among the 50,000 spectators
Formula One ace Carlos Sainz proved something of a distraction when he followed Spanish compatriot Jon Rahm from inside the ropes. On more than one occasion, caddies had to ask for quiet as fans clamoured to get the Ferrari driver’s autograph.
It would appear that sponsors are demanding their money’s worth this year. On numerous occasions those inside the ropes were told to shift when they had the temerity to stand in front of an official logo.
The proximity of some of the holes to the fan villages has led to musical moments, with Rahm chipping in sensationally at the 10th as Paul Simon’s You Can Call Me Al blared out. The Spaniard then rolled a beauty from 150 yards to within a few feet of the pin to a soundtrack of The Beatles’ If I Fell.
The noise from the fan village could be heard from the course as players made their way round
Viewers may have noticed large numbers of people wandering around in luminous green bibs. That would be members of the media.
When asked why such a colour had been chosen, it transpires that officials want to ensure they can spot any pesky reporters venturing into off-limits areas.
Taxi drivers have been cashing in on the influx of fans. Firms across Rome are charging a flat rate of €75 (£65) for journeys to the course, regardless of where pick-ups occur.
Europe’s caddies were not impressed with their positioning at the opening ceremony. Luke Donald’s team of bagmen were seated under the blazing sun, while their American counterparts enjoyed the cool shade for the lengthy affair. ‘Unbelievable,’ said one.
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