The 41st Ryder Cup Opening Ceremony took place in front of thousands of fans at Hazeltine National Golf Club in the USA, with both captains announcing their line-ups for the Friday morning foursomes in keeping with tradition at the showpiece occasion.
The festivities got underway with Aloe Blacc performing the fittingly named ‘Hello World’ to introduce a truly global event watched around the world.
On a more sombre note, once both sets of players had emerged in black suits into the spotlight of the evening Minnesota sunshine, a video tribute to late golfing great Arnold Palmer was played and observed impeccably.
Palmer’s one-time golfing adversary Jack Nicklaus spoke alongside European Ryder Cup legend Tony Jacklin, before European Tour Chief Executive Keith Pelley introduced Team Europe Captain Darren Clarke.
“It is my honour and privilege to stand here as captain of Team Europe,” he began.
“It’s been a long road but now we’re at Hazeltine we’re delighted to be here. The start of the week was tinged with sadness both here and around the world at the passing of Arnold Palmer. Our thoughts are with Arnold and his family.
"There are many events in sport that are special but The Ryder Cup is quite simply unique. It’s almost impossible to explain but the best advice I ever received was from former captain Sam Torrance.
“He told me before my debut in 1997, ‘Darren, it’s like having your first child. Until you experience it, you can’t really appreciate what all the fuss is about.’ When I stood on the first tee during my debut at Valderrama in 1997 I knew what he was talking about.”
Clarke went on to talk about the pride he feels captaining Team Europe, before paying tribute to his vice-captains, the caddies, the Team Europe backroom team and the wives and partners.
After both the American and European anthems were played the Northern Irishman then spoke in glowing terms of his opposite number this week Davis Love III, and the American team, before introducing his players in alphabetical order.
Love III repaid the compliment before introducing his 12 players, by saying:
“Darren, thank you for your generous comments. We became close friends through our Ryder Cup play. We’ll probably be talking about what happens here over the next three days for the rest of our lives no matter what the outcome.
"The outcome might impact on who pays for a fishing trip, but as you said we’ll remain friends because that’s the spirit of the game.”
The ceremony finished with both captains announcing their picks for the Friday morning foursomes, before a spectacular flyover brought the ceremony to a close as the players made their way back to the team room knowing who they will face on that first tee on Friday morning.
Friday’s Foursome matches:
Henrik Stenson/ Justin Rose vs. Jordan Spieth/ Patrick Reed (07:35)
Rory McIlroy/ Andy Sullivan vs. Phil Mickelson/ Rickie Fowler (07:50)
Sergio Garcia/ Martin Kaymer vs. Jimmy Walker/ Zach Johnson (08:05)
Lee Westwood/ Thomas Pieters vs. Dustin Johnson/ Matt Kuchar (08:20)