Europe still embracing Chicago spirit

Europe's Peter Hanson with the young fan he presented with a Chicago Blackhawks hockey shirt

Europe still embracing Chicago spirit

As Team Europe played their final nine holes of practice ahead of The 2012 Ryder Cup opening ceremony on Thursday afternoon, José María Olazábal’s troops continued to get into the Chicago spirit with the help of the city’s prodigious sporting heritage.

While taking one last look at Medinah Country Club’s No. 3 Course a day prior to the beginning of the 39th edition of the event, the European players wore the hats and shirts of some of Chicago’s famed sports franchises.

Ian Poulter was seen donning a Chicago Cubs baseball hat – which he later signed and handed to a lucky fan following their practice group – while Sweden’s Peter Hanson presented a signed Chicago Blackhawks ice hockey shirt to another young member of the crowd and Graeme McDowell a Chicago Bears American football top.

Europe still embracing Chicago spirit

Graeme McDowell, Ian Poulter and one fan with a Chicago Bears shirt

The gesture follows another act of goodwill towards the host city on Wednesday, when European players wore a special Glenmuir shirt adorned with the iconic Chicago skyline.

Often seen as the symbolic capital of the American Midwest, Chicago is renowned as one of the top three sporting cities in the country along with New York and Los Angeles.

In short, Chicago has within its metropolis: two Major League Baseball teams in the Cubs and the White Sox – making it the only city to have more than one MLB franchise since the American League was launched in 1901; one of only two remaining founding members of the National Football League(NFL) in the Bears; possibly the world’s most famous National Basketball Association (NBA) outfit in the Bulls; plus four-time Stanley Cup Champions – and one of the original six teams of the National Hockey League (NHL) – the Blackhawks.

With a high level of interaction between the hordes of fans, the spirit of the Europeans seemed excellent once again as laughs and jokes were shared between players as they took a final look at the layout that will play host to three days of top-class, dramatic sport from Friday morning after Olazábal had earlier mixed up the practice groups.

Preparations complete, the opening ceremony to come, only hours remain until the showstopper in Chicago begins.