Golf Notebook: Players stoking loud start

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MEDINAH, Ill. -- Wonder no more what would happen if the crowd screamed in the middle of a golfer's backswing. It has happened two days in a row at the Ryder Cup by design, signaling what might be the start of a new tradition.

U.S. golfer Bubba Watson got things off to a raucous start Friday afternoon, stepping onto the tee box and waving his arms like a cheerleader, exhorting fans in the packed grandstands to get on their feet and yell. As the wall of noise closed in, Watson addressed his opening drive and crushed it down the middle of the fairway. The roar got even louder.

The moment so energized players on both teams that when Watson did the same thing on his opening tee shot Saturday morning, Europe's Ian Poulter encouraged the crowd to keep howling and promptly followed suit.

"It was ridiculous. A special moment," Poulter said. "It's an amazing amphitheater to stand there and hit that first tee shot, even when it's quiet.

"I knew Bubba was going to do it [Saturday]," he added, "so why not join him?"

Why not indeed? Considering how many players on both sides embraced the bedlam at No. 1, it will be interesting to see whether any players will try to pump up the crowd today before teeing off in their singles matches.

Though he's been an emotional lightning rod for the U.S. team during the first two days, count American Keegan Bradley out.

"Personally, I'd probably miss the ball," he said.

Presidential privilege

The Americans' big day got the presidential seal of approval.

Former presidents George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush were at the Ryder Cup Saturday, joining U.S. captain Davis Love III to watch some of the fourball matches. While the elder Bush and wife Barbara were easily recognizable, riding in a cart with small American flags fluttering, the younger Bush blended in with Love's squad.

He even wore the same blue-and-white striped shirt Saturday that was the U.S. team uniform.

"There's nothing like the Ryder Cup in my view," said the elder Bush, who has been to every one since Valderrama in 1997.

Rookie surge

Bradley became the first rookie since Sergio Garcia in 1999 to win his opening three matches. Garcia went on to halve a fourth match, and then lost in singles. Bradley is the first American rookie to go 3-0 in team matches since Loren Roberts in 1995.

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