Captains promise a competitive Ryder Cup
Anthems were played, jets flew low overhead and team captains vowed to stage a rousing show on the course at Thursday’s opening ceremonies for the 37th Ryder Cup at Valhalla Golf Club.
The biennial matchplay competition between Europe and the United States begins on Friday.
“There is such a long and prestigious sporting history here, from the Kentucky Derby to, of course, the legendary, The Greatest’, Muhammad Ali,” European captain Nick Faldo told the crowd.
“This is a city that thrived on sporting courage and I’m sure everyone from Europe, inside and outside the ropes, are proud to be a part of your new sporting history.
“Captain (Paul) Azinger, you’ve assembled a very talented and skilful team and if you’re ready to rumble in the jungle, we’re ready to see you Friday morning for Round One.”
Europe have dominated recent matches, winning the last three in a row and five of the last six.
U.S. captain Azinger saluted Faldo and his winning record as a player on European teams.
“Your teams have given us all we have ever wanted. But ultimately, the game, its values, sportsmanship, honor and integrity overshadow everything.
“You and your team have always exhibited the greatest traditions of golf—camaraderie, honor, dignity, resolve and enthusiasm and I thank you for that.
“I know you’ll be sharp and fierce and rest assured we will offer the same.”
Faldo, who called the Ryder Cup “the most emotionally charged challenge in our sport,” ended his speech with another reference to Ali, who visited both teams on the Valhalla course on Thursday morning.
“We may look like we just floated in like a butterfly,” Faldo said. “But I can promise you we’re here to sting like a bee.”