Live Commentary: Ryder Cup Opening Ceremony - as it happened

The Ryder Cup
© PA Photos
Sports Mole brings you live coverage of the opening ceremony for the 39th Ryder Cup.

Hello and welcome to Sports Mole's live text commentary of the opening ceremony for the 39th Ryder Cup, taking place at the Medinah Country Club in Illinois, United States.

It's nearly time for the United States and Europe to do battle over three days of mouth-watering matchplay golf.

Despite being a sport that is so often played as an individual, this storied biennial competition is arguably golf's greatest spectacle.

Tensions and rivalry run deep and the atmosphere owes more to that of a football match than a golf tournament, but that's all part of the magic.

David Love III captains the American team, who are back on home turf and desperate to wrestle the famous trophy from European clutches.

Jose Maria Olazabal was one of Colin Montgomerie's vice-captains at Celtic Manor two years ago but takes the reins this time.

The Spaniard is looking to emulate his late great friend Seve Ballesteros by becoming a victorious Ryder Cup captain.

Follow the action from the opening ceremony with us below.


11.16pmUntil then, get some sleep... if you can. Goodnight folks!

11.15pmIt's certainly an intriguing mix, and our coverage kicks off at 12.30pm UK time. Join us then for all the action from day 1, and in particular a fascinating first session.

11.13pmWestwood and Molinari are great from tee to green, but they aren't the best putters. Zach Johnson is solid on the green - more than solid, in fact. He rarely misses from inside five feet. That's going to be key this weekend.

11.11pmOf course, McIlroy and McDowell was expected. Snedeker is a man in form, and snatched the $10m cheque from McIlroy last week. Revenge mission for the Irishman?

11.10pmPhil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley can rack up the bidies when they begin to motor, though. Every match can go either way, it's looking like a great Ryder Cup.

11.09pmLuke Donald and Sergio Garcia is a great pairing. Unbeaten in forsomes and fourballs in all their their Ryder Cup careers.

11.08pmThat last match looks particularly tasty. Woods vs. Poulter. they like each other, but they love to wind each other up. Woods brings out the best in Poulter.

11.07pmThat's the lineup for the morning session at Medinah Country Club. Some great pairings in there.

11.06pmFourth match: Steve Stricker and Tiger Woods will play Ian Poulter and Justin Rose.

11.05pmThird match: Lee Westwood and Francesco Molinari will play Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson.

11.04pmSecond match: Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley will play Luke Donald and Sergio Garcia.

11.03pmFirst match: Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy will play Jim Furyk and Brandt Snedeker.

11pmI don't mean to light a flame of indignation that will spread across the Atlantic, but the American national anthem has got to be one of the cheesiest going. France obviously has the best, followed closely by the amalgamation for the West Indian cricket team.

10.59pmJordan Sparks, the youngest winner of the American Idol, is about to sing the American national anthem. Never heard of her, I've probably even spelled her name wrongly. Is it Sparx; or perhaps a double 'x'... because that would be cool. Still, yeah... what does she sing? Apart from Star Spangled Banner...

10.56pmTiger's cheer is not as big. Phil is definitely their man. It's like a Beatles or Rolling Stones kinda thing...

10.55pmPhil Mickelson gets a big cheer.

10.54pmDufner's hair resembles that of an unmade bed. Credit goes to Frankie Boyle for that joke, I just changed it from 'Boris Johnson'.

10.53pmDavis Love III: "As we Americans square off against your distinguished European squad, let's remember what we're doing here. We start the matches on a note of friendship and end it the same way."

10.52pmDavis Love III: "We should remember that these matches are not life a death. These games have to be played in the spirit and graciousness. Captain Olazabal, you embody true class in the game all your golfing life."

10.51pmDavis Love III: "What a town, and what fans."

10.50pmDavis Love III: "Everything great about America, you'll find in Chicago."

10.50pmDavis Love III: "What a privilege it is for me to be standing here today. It's the honour of my life to welcome you to the 35th playing of thr Ryder Cup."

10.48pmThere's some flag waving, but that will be nothing compared to what's coming in a few minutes. The Americans will take the roof off this place, if they weren't staging this ceremony outside.

10.47pmLee Westwood looks like Terminator with the shades on. And he stood up like Terminator too.

10.46pmPaul Lawrie, competing in his second Ryder Cup after the fiasco of Brookline.

10.46pmJose Maria is introducing his team. Donald comes with typical cries of "LUUUUKE!"

10.45pmJose Maria Olazabal: "On this stage we have the best 24 golfers on either side of the Atlantic. They've worked hard for this honour."

10.44pmImpromptu chant of "USA! USA! USA!" brings a grin to Jose Maria's face. "We will leave as friends," he says.

10.44pmJose Maria Olazabal: "We're both Ryder Cup captains, but we're still fealress competitors. Europe have every intention of taking the trophy back with us."

10.43pmJose Maria Olazabal: "Davis and I go back a long way. We both started as professionals in 1985. Looking around the teams, I see that some were not born and others were still in primary school!"

10.41pmJose Maria Olazabal: "The Ryder Cup brings the best in you and you give your all. I've tasted victory and defeat. The memories are something I will cherish forever."

10.40pmJose Maria Olazabal: "This match would not be possible without the many volunteers. We thank each and every one of you."

10.40pmJose Maria Olazabal: "We'd like the thank the course management team for the excellent layout."

10.39pmJose Maria Olazabal: "First and foremost, the European officials would like to say how wonderful it is to be here."

10.38pmJason Dufner looks like he doesn't know where he is or what he's doing... as usual. He is a cool customer.

10.36pmJose Maria was very emotional during that speech, choking back tears for his great Seve. The man was a true legend.

10.35pmChairman of the European Professional Golf Association Phil Weaver: "Seve played with his heart and is up there with the greatest names in golf. With his passing last year, the game of golf and the Ryder Cup lost a dynamic talent, a true genius and above all a great friend."

10.34pmChairman of the European Professional Golf Association Phil Weaver: "Seve Ballesteros became the heartbeat of the European team from that 23rd match in West Virginia to that captaincy in 1987 in his native Spain."

10.32pmChairman of the European Professional Golf Association Phil Weaver: "I'm honoured to stand before you today to express on behalf of European team our sincere gratitude for the warm welcome we have received."

10.30pmPresident of the PGA of America Allen Wronowski: "Over the next three days, these 24 players will write their unique chapter in golf history."

10.29pmPresident of the PGA of America Allen Wronowski: "We pause to think about players who have competed in Ryder Cups of past. They played with great pride for the respected flag of their homeland."

10.28pmPresident of the PGA of America Allen Wronowski: "Ryder Cup is the stage where legends are forged and legacies are made."

10.27pmPresident of the PGA of America Allen Wronowski: "Honoured guests, ladies and gentleman. On behalf of the 27,000 men and women professionals in the PGA of America, we're honoured to host the premier event in golf."

10.23pmThe players make their procession. "USA! USA! USA!" chant the crowd. I made it sound a bit like Thomas the Tank then, didn't I?

10.21pm... it's probably because she's not there.

10.20pmI'm having a tough time spotting Miss Wozniacki. So is the cameraman...

10.19pmThey're taking their seats as the players make their way out. Also with their wives and partners. Must... resist... Tiger joke... urge... great

10.18pmThe captains and their staff are about to come out with their wives and partners. A brass band belts out classic marching music. I think Crazy in Love by Beyonce and some strobe lighting would've gone down much better.

10.12pmNantz: "We're here today because of one man - Samuel Ryder. He had the vision back in 1927 to create this tournament and celebrate national pride and camaraderie."

10.10pmJim Nantz (American golf commentator): "Welcome to Chicago, a true sporting town."

10.09pmTimberlake is clearly reading from autocue as well. That's it, tournament cancelled. I'm disappointed.

10.07pmThe microphone is finally working, but I wish it hadn't. JT's routine is like a bad stand-up comedian. And I don't actually mind him that much, that's how objective I am.

10.04pmMichael Phelps introduces Justin Timberlake. He is having microphone troubles. Can't understand a word he's saying...

10.03pmWe're not long now until the opening ceremony. Minutes. Anticipation is building...

9.49pmThe four vice-captains for Europe are great choices. Thomas Bjorn, Darren Clarke, Miguel Angel Jimenez and Paul McGinley. Although the US have the King of Cool Freddy Couples in their backroom. Mike Hulbert, Jeff Sluman and Scott Verplank are also on board.

9.44pmTiger Woods was pictured lighting one up with Darren Clarke earlier. It seems like a jovial atmosphere, but that of course changes at the first tee tomorrow morning (afternoon for the UK).

9.43pmBoth teams are suited in grey (yeah, it's spelled 'grey' America!). Miguel Angel Jimenez is here in his role as a vice-captain and as per usual has a massive cigar on the go. You've gotta love him.

9.35pmSky Sports are giving us a tour of the Islamic-inspired Medinah Country Club in all its glory. The clubhouse decorated in Byzantine fashion and shaped like a Mosque. It's rather stunning.

9.30pmAnd as Butch Harmon and Mark Rowe go through what their pairings would be, Harmon quite rightly puts Woods and Steve Stricker together. They were beaten for the first time as a team at Celtic Manor, but are still a good match.

9.28pmThere's probably no prizes for guessing that McDowell and McIlroy will be paired together after their Celtic Manor display two years ago. They're a great pairing and great friends.

9.27pmEurope have just four Major winners in comparison. Martin Kaymer, Paul Lawrie, Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy.

9.26pmAlong with Bradley and Simpson, the USA also boast another five Major winners. On that list is Jim Furyk, Zach Johnson, Bubba Watson, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods.

9.22pmWe're still around 40 minutes away from the opening ceremony, where the captains will announce their pairings for the opening day of fourballs and foursomes.

9.18pmIf you have never watched a Ryder Cup competition, it's hard to encapsulate the emotions it stirs up. Even if you don't like golf (impossible, I know) you should still give it a go. It's special.

9.13pmJust one rookie for Jose Maria Olazabal. Nicolas Colsaerts becomes Belgium's first ever representative in the competition. He has also been in decent form over the last year and he will add some much-needed distance to the European team.

9.12pmThe Americans have four rookies in their team this year, but Keegan Bradley and Webb Simpson are Major winners, while Brandt Snedeker has just scooped the $10m cheque for winning the FedEx Cup series. Then there's Jason Dufner, who has been in great form this year.

9.09pmThis year's course is very long. The Americans have some big hitters in the likes of Dustin Johnson, Bubba Watson and Phil Mickelson (when he is on target!). As I've mentioned, there's very little rough on this year's course. It's hard to know who that favours. It's poised nicely.

9.06pmColing Montgomerie speaking on Sky Sports: "Davis Love III has set this up as a putting competition. He thinks his team are better putters than we are."

9.05pmThe last Major tournament to be contested at Medinah was the 2006 US PGA Championship. Guess who won that one? If you guessed Tiger Woods then yeah, you're right.

9.03pmEurope have a great record in recent times, winning seven of the last 10 Ryder Cups. The last one was contested at a rainswept Celtic Manor in Newport, Wales. The tournament went into a fourth day for the first time in it's history due to the torrential downpour. It went right to the wire, with Graeme McDowell defeating Hunter Mahan following a late American surge.

8.50pmTonight marks the opening ceremony, but it also marks the start of our comprehensive coverage of this year's competition. Ahead of us are three days of pure tension, pure drama and pure magic. You will be guided through all of the action by myself and Mr Pascal Lemesre. You lucky people.

8.42pmWelcome one and all. It's nearly time for the Ryder Cup! *Excited gasps all around*


Colin Montgomerie
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