On Friday morning in Paris, the biggest grandstand you'll ever see at a golf tournament will be filled with (mostly) rowdy European fans looking to cheer their side on as the 2018 Ryder Cup starts at Le Golf National.
The European Tour and Ryder Cup Europe built this massive first-tee grandstand at Le Golf National with the idea of creating the most raucous opening tee-shot setting imaginable. All told, an estimated 6,500 people can fit in the grandstands, and that's just not a crowd golfers outside of Tiger Woods expect to see on any first hole anywhere.
“It’s the biggest grandstand you’ll ever see at a golf tournament,” Tommy Fleetwood said.
European captain Thomas Bjorn was aware of what was coming, but even he was blown away by the scale of the grandstands.
"I think we thought it was big in Gleneagles. It was certainly big last time at Hazeltine," he said. "If this is the route we're going to go, we're going to have 60,000 sitting down the first hole at some stage in the future. But there's an opportunity, here, as well, because you've got the room. I just think it's going to be one of the most amazing experiences in any sport of being on that first tee."
Ian Poulter, who has been a part of Ryder Cups on both sides of the Atlantic, compared the first-tee look in Paris (as well the stands at Hazeltine National in 2016) to when he first played in the 2004 Ryder Cup at Oakland Hills in Michigan.
“When I think back in 2004, the stand is nothing like what we have today," he said. "So it really is going to be quite a special moment Friday, and it’s going to be very interesting to see.”
While the first-tee scene may well benefit the European side and amplify their home-course advantage with the first-ever Ryder Cup in France, Open winner Francesco Molinari reiterated the European dozen will feel nerves, excitement and energy, too.
"It's the highest adrenaline and the highest pressure you're ever going to feel on a golf course," he said. "And like I said, I think the biggest thing is you need to deal with it the way you deal with it normally and in the way you know you can be successful."