Ryder Cup 2023 opening ceremony live, plus Friday's pairings and matchups

Luke Donald and Tommy Fleetwood

Donald, left, will announce his pairings for Friday morning, which seem highly likely to include Tommy Fleetwood, right – REUTERS/PHIL NOBLE

03:37 PM BST

Zach Johnson’s fluent Italian

After a rambunctious intro, the American captain wobbled at the peroration as he struggled with the pronunciation of “grazie”. Full marks for trying though.

The US team have been introduced and the anthem played. Now. it’s time for Luke Donald to take to the stage.

03:33 PM BST

Zach Johnson

They Ryder cup is simply the best competition in golf.

The Ryder Cup may be the perfect form of competition.

This week, here at Marco Simone, you will see incredible shot making, you will see players of both sides stare into the magnitude and weight of the moment and hit incredible shots.

03:32 PM BST

Zach Johnson

The captain gives a heart-rending explanation of where his golf journey started in Iowa.

This is followed by special mentions galore with thank yous dished out to various federations and former coaches.

03:28 PM BST

Zach Johnson’s speech

After an impassioned performance of the Italian national anthem, the US captain steps up to the mic.

He greets the crowd with a shout of “thank you and good afternoon” – in fluent Italian, clearly.

This is greeted with football crowd-style chants of “Olay” and a fly-by from a fleet of fighter jets which leave a smoke trail of the Italian flag.

Johnson looks up with a mixture of impressed bemusement. You couldn’t make it up.

03:24 PM BST

Now time for team Europe

Team Europe, led by captain Luke Donald, now shuffle onto the stage.

America may be perceived as the dominant force going into this year’s edition of the tournament, but fans of team Europe will draw optimism from the fact that Donald has never lost the Cup as a player, and he is followed by a strong team with nine majors and 42 Ryder Cup points between them.

A reminder of who is in team Europe:

  • Rory McIlroy (Northern Ireland)

  • Jon Rahm (Spain)

  • Bob MacIntyre (Scotland)

  • Viktor Hovland (Norway)

  • Tyrrell Hatton (England)

  • Matt Fitzpatrick (England)

  • Tommy Fleetwood (England)

  • Sepp Straka (Austria)

  • Justin Rose (England)

  • Shane Lowry (Ireland)

  • Nicolai Hojgaard (Denmark)

  • Ludvig Aberg (Sweden)

03:19 PM BST

US team march out on stage

Here come the US team led by Captain Zach Johnson and his five experienced vice captains.

A reminder of the US team:

  • Scottie Scheffler

  • Sam Burns

  • Wyndham Clark

  • Brian Harman

  • Xander Schauffele

  • Patrick Cantlay

  • Max Homa

  • Brooks Koepka

  • Collin Morikawa

  • Rickie Fowler

  • Jordan Spieth

  • Justin Thomas

For a full breakdown of the teams, check out James Corrigan’s piece here.

03:17 PM BST

McIlroy becomes Ryder Cup elder statesman

Rory McIlroy comes into the Ryder Cup with more tournaments under his belt than any player on either team.

Since his first tournament, there have been many memorable moments for McIlroy — a pivotal halve he earned against Stewart Cink in Wales in 2010, his fist-pumping, decibel-raising shouts against Patrick Reed at Hazeltine in 2016 and the tears during the loss at Whistling Straits in 2021.

Oliver Brown looks at Rory McIlroy’s long, emotional and sometimes chaotic relationship with the Ryder Cup.

As a 20-year-old he treated the event with disdain, but now he is a passionate advocate of it and elder statesman of Team Europe who has the ability to determine the outcome in Italy.

Read the full article here.

03:10 PM BST

The pairings

There has been much speculation in recent days over pairings for the tournament as golf-savants seek to read the runes inside the minds of captains Luke Donald and Zach Johnson.

Will Jon Rahm and Tyrrell Hatton, aka “Team Angry”, reprise their winning partnership from Whistling Straits? Will Rory McIlroy and Tommy Fleetwood match up to produce a gloriously punny Fleetwood Mac pairing?

How the teams were paired in practice offered plenty of clues — the Scandinavia duo of Hovland and Ludvig Aberg of Sweden, the English duo of U.S. Open champions Justin Rose and Matt Fitzpatrick.

However, European captain Luke Donald cautioned not to read too much into that — those who went off first had media obligations later in the day.

“We do have a plan in place, and that plan can be adjusted throughout the next few days,” he said. “The vice captains are out there watching the players and seeing how they look and how they feel and all that goes into it.”

For the Americans, it was obvious even before practice rounds. Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele have been partners since their first Presidents Cup in 2019 (with one exception at Whistling Straits), while Thomas and Jordan Spieth have been friends since they were in their early teens and partners dating to 2018.

02:57 PM BST

Opening ceremony kicks off at 3pm

Hello and welcome to Telegraph Sport’s coverage of the Ryder Cup 2023 opening ceremony.

The 44th edition of the tournament gets under way tomorrow at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club in Rome with team Europe looking to defend their 30-year winning streak on home soil.

Captain Luke Donald will have his work cut out for him though, coming off the back of a record 19-9 defeat at Whistling Straits in 2021.

Europe have three of the top four ranked players in their team in Rory McIlroy – who has played in more Ryder Cups than any player on either team – Viktor Hovland and Jon Rahm – who has been Europe’s top player over the last two years.

But the US, captained by Zach Johnson, currently dominate the world rankings with 10 of their 12 players ranked inside the world top 20, including world No 1 Scottie Scheffler.

How the teams will pair up for tomorrow’s foursomes and fourballs has been the subject of much speculation in recent days, with the announcement due to be made during the opening ceremony.

Speaking about the significance of the Ryder Cup, McIlroy said on Wednesday: “In 2009, I was just so focused on myself and trying to get my career off the ground that I felt like I had bigger and better things to achieve for my individual goals.

“I’m still very, very proud and probably proudest of the things I’ve done as an individual,” he said. “But nothing — nothing — beats this week. It’s an amazing experience and I want to be a part of it for as long as I can.”

Stay tuned for all the latest live updates!

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