Ryder Cup 2021 Opening Ceremony: Top Highlights and Reaction

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IISeptember 24, 2021

KOHLER, WISCONSIN - SEPTEMBER 23: Captain Steve Stricker of team United States speaks during the opening ceremony for the 43rd Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits on September 23, 2021 in Kohler, Wisconsin. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

The 2021 Ryder Cup Opening Ceremony took place Thursday, one day before the tournament is slated to begin from Whistling Straits golf course in Haven, Wisconsin.

Ryder Cup @rydercup

LIVE: Tune in now from the Opening Ceremonies of the 43rd <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/RyderCup?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#RyderCup</a>. <a href="https://t.co/QcVniOROnM">https://t.co/QcVniOROnM</a>

Ryder Cup @rydercup

Camaraderie and sportsmanship on display at the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/RyderCup?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#RyderCup</a> Opening Ceremony. <a href="https://t.co/qqaynauwQa">pic.twitter.com/qqaynauwQa</a>

Team USA and Team Europe took center stage, with Team USA captain Steve Stricker and Team Europe captain Padraig Harrington both speaking with the media:

Ryder Cup @rydercup

LIVE now from Day 3 of the 43rd <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/RyderCup?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#RyderCup</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/USTeam?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#USTeam</a> Captain <a href="https://twitter.com/stevestricker?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@stevestricker</a> <a href="https://t.co/FvJngDra0a">https://t.co/FvJngDra0a</a>

Ryder Cup @rydercup

LIVE now from the 43rd <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/RyderCup?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#RyderCup</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/padraig_h?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@padraig_h</a> <a href="https://t.co/dTK9uiO1bI">https://t.co/dTK9uiO1bI</a>

Comedian Rob Riggle helped narrarate the proceedings:

Golf Channel @GolfChannel

Welcome to Whistling Straits! <br><br>The 43rd <a href="https://twitter.com/rydercup?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@rydercup</a> Opening Ceremony is underway NOW on GOLF and streaming here: <a href="https://t.co/2NWjUzM3tg">https://t.co/2NWjUzM3tg</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/RyderCup?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#RyderCup</a> // <a href="https://twitter.com/RobRiggle?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@RobRiggle</a> <a href="https://t.co/5lJJTQ04pe">pic.twitter.com/5lJJTQ04pe</a>

Stricker, a Wisconsin native, noted how special it was to return to his home state while shouting out the Ryder Cup fans:

Golf Channel @GolfChannel

"This is home."<br><br>Wisconsin native and <a href="https://twitter.com/RyderCupUSA?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@RyderCupUSA</a> Captain <a href="https://twitter.com/stevestricker?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@stevestricker</a> on what makes the 43rd <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/RyderCup?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#RyderCup</a> so special. <a href="https://t.co/3WecbMSTKI">pic.twitter.com/3WecbMSTKI</a>

He and Harrington announced the Friday foursome pairings, too:

Golf Channel @GolfChannel

Captains <a href="https://twitter.com/stevestricker?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@stevestricker</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/padraig_h?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@padraig_h</a> announce their pairings for Friday’s foursome matches. πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ€œπŸ€›πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡Ί<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/RyderCup?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#RyderCup</a> // <a href="https://twitter.com/RyderCupUSA?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@RyderCupUSA</a> x <a href="https://twitter.com/RyderCupEurope?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@RyderCupEurope</a> <a href="https://t.co/nLARzqXO2H">pic.twitter.com/nLARzqXO2H</a>


The opening foursome matchups for the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/RyderCup?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#RyderCup</a> have been announced. πŸ™Œ <a href="https://t.co/jRkWOmS0xT">pic.twitter.com/jRkWOmS0xT</a>

As for the tournament itself, it'll make its first appearance at Whistling Straits, which is used to hosting big events: The PGA Championship was held there in 2004, 2010 and 2015, and the 2007 U.S. Senior Open.

The three-day event will begin with Friday morning foursomes.

There's a loaded matchup to start featuring childhood friends Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth (Team USA) versus a pair of Spaniards in Jon Rahm and Sergio Garcia (Team Europe). The four of them have combined to win six majors. They'll tee off 8:05 a.m. ET.

A pair of two-time major champions in Dustin Johnson and Collin Morikawa, who are second and third in the Official World Golf Rankings, respectively, will follow suit for Team USA when they face off against Paul Casey and Viktor Hovland. Casey finished 26th or better in all four majors this year. Hovland has three professional wins under his belt, most recently at the BMW International Open.

A pair of Florida residents and ex-Florida State teammates Daniel Berger and Brooks Koepka are up next for Team USA. They'll take on Lee Westwood and Matt Fitzpatrick, who combined to make seven of eight major cuts.

The last foursome features reigning FedEx Cup champion Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele, who has nine top-10 finishes at majors since 2017.

That Team USA group will go against Rory McIlroy and Ian Poulter. McIlroy is a four-time major winner. Poulter has won 15 career events (three PGA Tour, 12 European Tour).

Europe has won nine of the last 12 Ryder Cups, including the last iteration in 2018.