Last night saw Tony and his fellow golfing legend Jack Nicklaus officially open the 2016 Ryder Cup in commemoration of their famous Ryder Cup meeting in 1969 where Jack conceded a putt to Tony at the 18th hole. This brought the game to a draw, with Great Britain and the USA having 16 points each, and that incredible gesture of sportsmanship has gone down in golfing history as ‘The Concession’.
After fans and professionals who gathered at the Hazeltine National Golf Club in Minnesota, USA, watched Tony (who captained his Ryder Cup team four times and is still the most successful European captain in the game) and Jack (who was USA captain twice) open proceedings the pair paid tribute to Arnold Palmer, who passed away earlier this week. Tony said he was "an inspiration to all of us" and Jack said “we dedicate these games to his honour".
Jack also said of Tony: “The Ryder Cup wouldn’t be where it is today without him. He took the Ryder Cup forward more than anybody else. It would be great to see Tony recognised by receiving a knighthood. Of all the people that I know, he has contributed more to golf in Great Britain than anyone else.”
Team Europe for the 41st Ryder cup has Darren Clarke as captain and Pádraig Harrington as one of his vice-captains and includes such top players as Rory McIlroy, Lee Westwood, Masters champion Danny Willett and Justin Rose. At the time of writing, the odds on Team Europe winning the Ryder Cup were 10-1. Team USA is headed up by Davis Love III with vice-captains Tiger Woods and Bubba Watson. The team also includes Jordan Speith and Phil Mickelson. At the time of writing, the odds on Team USA winning were 5-1.
After the first foursomes were announced, there was entertainment by singer-songwriter Aloe Blacc and Minnesota’s Sounds of Blackness and the ceremony was closed with an awe-inspiring flyover.