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Golf: Ryder Cup 2004: Stars turn out for Ryder Cup opening ceremony.

Byline: FRANK MALLEY in Detroit

FROM Samuel L Jackson to Chaka Khan to captain Johnny Green, the commanding officer of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, America rolled out some of its famous faces last night in true Hollywood fashion.

But nothing at the opening ceremony of the 35th Ryder Cup could eclipse the frisson of anticipation which rippled through the 40, 000 spectators when the opening match was announced.

Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson will take on Colin Montgomerie and Padraig Harrington in today's opening fourball.

A collective gasp hissed down the fairways at Oakland Hills, followed by the sort of roar which Captain Green must experience every time a jet leaves his aircraft carrier.

``I felt like history needed it, '' said US captain Hal Sutton.

``I felt like the fans needed it and most of all I felt like Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson needed it. ''

The only concern was whether the 435-yards first hole was spacious enough to accommodate the fans which was bound to attach itself to one of the most intriguing golf matches in recent memory.

Drama is ensured. Patriotic fervour is guaranteed. Hopefully this time, as opposed to the traumas of Brookline five years ago, it will be confined to the golfing action, a sentiment endorsed by Europe captain Bernhard Langer who pleaded for every spectator ``to uphold the respect and integrity which makes golf a special game in the eyes of the sporting world. ''

If it all goes off as smoothly, if a trifle sickly for some European tastes, as last night's opening ceremony, with its stirring skirl of bagpipes and its Celtic fiddler, then we could have no complaints.

But then celebrity and glamour, not to mention hype and mild hysteria, are what America do best -- with walk on roles for Michael Phelps, Donald Trump and Samuel L Jackson.

They don't go in for small measures in this part of the United States. If the action lives up to the prematch hype, however, golf fans are in for a treat.

CAPTION(S):

Colin Montgomerie (right) tees off on the seventh hole under the scrutiny on team-mate Padraig Harrington (left), Miguel Jimenez (third left), golf coach Bruce Harmon (centre) and Darren Clarke (second right) during practice for the 35th Ryder Cup at Oakland Hills Country Club yesterday RYDER CUP PREVIEW: P40-41
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Sep 17, 2004
Words:386
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