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Ryder Cup 1st Tee Nerves - How they handle it and how it can help your game

The Ryder Cup is underway and one particular shot caught my attention during the morning foursomes.

As a rookie Andy Sullivan must have felt extremely nervous on the first tee but as the video shows he managed to hit a great tee shot.

How did he do it?

How did he cope with nerves so well?

How can this benefit your game?


One great coping mechanism is the pre-shot routine.

Every top player has a precise pre-shot routine in which they immerse themselves before each shot. The routine allows them to focus on the present and not the potential outcome which helps to reduce the nerves.

Andy Sullivan's pre-shot routine includes:

- 2 practice swings

- Visualisation of the shot

- 100% commitment to the shot


Diaphragmatic Breathing is a great way to calm the nerves before starting your pre-shot routine. The technique involves:

- breathing in whilst you push your belly out then

- pulling your belly in as you breathe out.

After 4 or 5 repetitions of this you will feel extremely relaxed but focused.

Positive self-talk is a huge part of any pre-shot routine and if done correctly can make your first tee nerves disappear completely. Most golfers who let nerves get the better of them use negative self-talk such as:

- "don't mess this shot up!"

- "I want to get this tee shot out of the way"

- "I don't think I can swing the club, I feel that nervous!"

These negative phrases can be replaced by:

- "I love the first tee, I always hit it well"

- "Nerves make me play better"

- "If I go through my pre-shot routine, I give myself the best chance of hitting a good shot"

Remember, you are in control of your thoughts. Don't let them control you.


The main point to remember is that you are not the only one who feels nervous.

Even the best players in the world feel nerves but they all use the techniques mentioned in this article to handle them and still perform well.

For help with your pre-shot routine and how it can help you combat nerves please contact me here.


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