One of golf's greatest games is just around the corner, September 25–30,
bringing some of the biggest international names in the sport to Medinah, Ill., just 25 miles from downtown. Renowned golfers from Europe and the U.S. will compete in the 39th Annual Ryder Cup, but the big game isn't the only event happening that weekend. Here are five more highlights to keep on your radar.
1. HALL OF FAME INVITATIONAL
Sept. 27, 8:30am
Olympia Fields Country Club in Olympia, Ill.
Golf meets football in this friendly competition, as Pro Football Hall of Fame Members trade in their helmets and shoulder pads for polo shirts and golf clubs. For the Hall of Fame Invitational, participants — individuals and groups who purchase tickets to play — are divided into four-person teams, playing 18 holes with an accompanying member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Confirmed football players include Dermontti Dawson, Chris Doleman, Marshall Faulk, Dan Hampton, Mike Haynes, James Lofton, Randall McDaniel, Warren Moon, Anthony Munoz, Bruce Smith, Thurman Thomas and Kellen Winslow. An exclusive "draft" party the night before determines which Pro Football players end up on which team, followed by this unforgettable event.
2. JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE IS U.S. TEAM AMBASSADOR
Music isn't his only passion. As a lifelong fan of golf, multi-talented musician Justin Timberlake will serve as the first-ever Team Ambassador for the U.S., appearing at both the Ryder Cup Gala (Sept. 26, 8:30pm at the Akoo Theatre in Rosemont, Ill.) and the Opening Ceremonies (Sept. 27, 4pm).
"Golf has been a lifelong passion of mine — whether I'm out playing the game, working on the course at Mirimichi or sharing my love for the sport with others," Timberlake said. "There is no greater stage for the sport than the Ryder Cup, and I'm proud to be an Ambassador for the U.S. Ryder Cup team and take part in such a time-honored event. It's going to be a special week for golf fans around the world, me the most."
3. BAGPIPES AND BLUES
Sept. 27, 8pm
The Field Museum
This official PGA-sanctioned pep rally gets golf fans revved up before the main event in Medinah. Bagpipes and Blues blends the cultures of Europe and the U.S., and will feature music, elegant dishes celebrating the Ryder Cup, Chicago culinary favorites, a premium bar highlighted by Grey Goose cocktails and a world-class auction benefiting the Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Chicagoland & Northwest Indiana and the Illinois PGA Foundation — all set against the city’s stunning skyline.
Individual tickets are available for $325, $175 of which is a tax-deductible gift to the two charities.
4. U.S. PAST CAPTAIN/CELEBRITY SCRAMBLE
Sept. 25, 1pm
Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Ill.
Past U.S. Ryder Cup Captains will be paired with a celebrity to play 10 holes (1–3 and 12–18) on Course No. 3 — the famed course that has hosted three U.S. Opens, two PGA Championships and players ranging from Gene Sarazen to Tiger Woods — in a scramble format. (A scramble format is when everyone on the same team tees off from the same spot; the team chooses the best shot made, and everyone moves their ball to that spot. This continues until the ball is in the hole.) Check back soon to see which captains and celebrities will participate in the event!
5. JUNIOR RYDER CUP EXHIBITION
Sept. 26, 2pm
Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Ill.
Adults aren't the only ones getting in on the fun. The United States and European Junior Ryder Cup Teams will play a friendly match on 10 holes (1-3 and 12-18) on Course No. 3.
The U.S. Junior Ryder Cup team is made up of six boys and six girls who are graduating high school in 2013, or are younger. Though the Junior Ryder Cup is fiercely competitive, the Exhibition on Sept. 26 is friendly and fun — it will feature a mixed four-ball grouping of a U.S. boy/girl player and a boy/girl from Europe competing against another mixed four-ball grouping for the matches. It's the perfect opportunity to get a glimpse into the next generation of great golfers.
More about the 39th Annual Ryder Cup
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Article Photo: Gary Kellner