Ryder Cup Logo Ryder Cup: Team USASeptember 22-24 2006, The K Club, Straffan, County Kildare, Ireland
Story Image Drummers perform on stage Thursday during the Opening Ceremony of the 2006 Ryder Cup at The K Club. (Photo: Getty Images)

Let The Games Begin

Thousands of spectators were treated to a unique musical pageant and the introduction of teams as The 2006 Ryder Cup was officially launched Thursday with the Opening Ceremony at The K Club.

Rod Williams, Press Officer
September 21, 2006

The 2006 Ryder Cup was officially opened Thursday after a spectacular Opening Ceremony at The K Club launched the 36th edition of the greatest team event in golf.

Organizers said they wanted the ceremony to "establish the benchmark against which all future opening ceremonies and host nations of the Ryder Cup will be judged." They succeeded.

It featured a Ryder Cup anthem written by local musician Donal Lunny, a dance -- which included performers dressed as monks and birds -- based on a famous Irish manuscript, the Book of Kells, and Irish pipers and drummers.

Ireland's President Mary McAleese welcomed the crowd with the traditional "Cead mile failte!" -- "A hundred thousand welcomes" -- and an army band played the national anthems of all countries involved as their flags were raised.

The unique pageant was inspired by Ireland's myths and strories. Rupert Murray, who sadly passed away on August 17th, was the man who brought the magic to the ceremony as the Creative Director.

Working with Platinum One, Murray worked to make the Opening Ceremony the most memorable in the history of the event. From the outset he believed it was possible to transform the practice ground into a creative playground that would become a stage to showcase contemporary Irish flair, bound together with the required formality and ceremony.

18 months ago Rupert became seriously ill. Six months ago, he sought the assistance of a friend and collaborator -- Julien Erskine, who along with Susie Shiel, continued the oversee the development of the opening event.

With the event MC'd by Sharon Ni Bheolain, the crowds were treated to a unique experience. President McAleese made the welcoming address before Phil Weaver, Chairman of the PGA of Great Britain and Ireland, too welcomed the teams. Roger Warren, President of The PGA of America, responded.

Those watching included former Ryder Cup Captains and golfing heroes such as Sam Torrance, Tony Jacklin and Arnold Palmer, who designed the course on which this week's match is being played.

The audience gave a huge cheer as the teams -- the United States in grey suits, the Europeans in light green jackets -- filed onto the stage.

But they reserved the loudest applause for the Irish players -- who were greeted with whoops and whistles as Captain Ian Woosnam introduced them -- and for the announcement of Friday's first match: Tiger Woods and Jim Furyk versus Colin Montgomerie and Padraig Harrington.

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