Stenson stresses importance of positive start

Henrik Stenson has stressed the importance of a strong European start to the Ryder Cup in this morning’s opening fourballs session at Le Golf National.

Stenson stresses importance of positive start

Henrik Stenson has stressed the importance of a strong European start to the Ryder Cup in this morning’s opening fourballs session at Le Golf National.

Underdogs Europe have home advantage in Paris as they bid to reclaim the cup lost to the United States at Hazeltine in 2016 on the back of a 4-0 whitewash in the Friday morning foursomes.

That immediately put Europe on the back foot in Minnesota and though Darren Clarke’s side edged the next two sessions the Americans remained in the driving seat throughout on the way to a 17-11 victory.

Stenson has got the Ryder Cup up and running in the opening match alongside Justin Rose in both 2014 and 2016.

The Europeans won the opening fourball at Gleneagles with a 5&4 hammering over Webb Simpson and Bubba Watson but lost 3&2 to Patrick Reed and Jordan Spieth in foursomes two years later.

He will sit out today’s morning fourballs, though, after captain Thomas Bjorn paired Rose with rookie Jon Rahm in 2018’s Match 1 against Brooks Koepka and Tony Finau but that does not diminish the Swede’s awareness of how crucial it is to set the tone for the weekend in that first session.

“Yeah, it is important,” Stenson said. “That is the starting point, and both teams want to get off to a quick start and kind of get a grip on things early.

“I mean, we had a poor opening session in Hazeltine, to say the least, but then we kind of battled back from there on.

So it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s done and over with just because you have a good opening session, but it certainly sets the tone, and in any sport, you don’t want to let the opposition get a good start and get a good grip of it early. So yeah, we’re going to be ready to go out and play good from the beginning.

One of Bjorn’s four captain’s picks this week, the 42-year-old 2016 Open champion is making his fifth Ryder Cup appearance this week having debuted at the K Club in 2006, where he was credited with sinking the winning putt in his 4&3 singles victory over Vaughn Taylor.

Reminded yesterday that there was some debate about whether he did get that honour at a point in the proceedings when a lot of matches were being concluded, Stenson joked: “No, I holed the winning putt. There’s no debate.

“There weren’t many big arguments about that. If someone else makes claims for it, I’m happy to give it away because it doesn’t really matter in the end. We won and that’s all that matters. It’s a team event.

“If there’s anyone with other information I’ll meet you behind the Media Centre later on and we’ll iron these things out.

“It was always going to be Europe at K Club there on that Sunday afternoon, so I hope we can have a similar argument after this match here in Paris and we can argue who holed the winning putt on Sunday, and I’ll be happy to give it away to someone who finished long before me.”

More in this section

Ireland's Top 10 Hidden Gems

Ten of the best golf courses in Ireland that too few people know about.

Read Here
Sport
Newsletter

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up
IE_logo_newsletters

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox