Stylish to a tee: Team Europe’s Ryder Cup team take to the stage at the opening ceremony
The stars of the Ryder Cup took centre-stage at the tournament’s opening ceremony on Thursday night as they prepare to compete for golf’s most prestigious trophy – and their wives were stylish to a tee as they joined them at the gala dinner.
Rory McIlroy, Ian Poulter and Viktor Hovland were among the Team Europe golfers wearing suits on a glamorous night as they were accompanied by their partners to kick off proceedings for the 43rd Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits, Wisconsin – lead by captain Padraig Harrington.
In a light-hearted ceremony, Harrington and his USA counterpart Steve Stricker announced the pairings for the Friday foursomes session as both leaders gave speeches in front of a cheering crowd.
Wearing designer heels and elegant dresses, the ladies wowed onlookers at the American Club in Kohler, Wisconsin, on Wednesday night.
Over the next three days, as their husbands – acting as players, captain and vice-captains – take on the Americans at the nearby Whistling Straits golf course, the WAGs will play supporting roles.
Team Europe took to the stage at the Ryder Cup opening ceremony on Thursday night at a light-hearted gala dinner
The team – including vice-captain Robert Karlsson, who was joined by his wife Ebba, looked stylish in their suits as they made their way onto the stage
The wives and girlfriends were seated just above Team Europe ahead of the 43rd edition of the prestigious tournament
Captain Padraig Harrington gave a speech in the opening event as he announced the pairings for Friday’s foursomes
American and European wives and girlfriends: From left, Helen Storey (wife of Lee Westwood), Irene Scholz (Martin Kaymer), Angela Akins Garcia (Sergio Garcia), Diane Antonopoulos (Luke Donald), Katie Poulter (Ian Poulter), Emma Lofgren (Henrik Stenson), Pollyanna Woodward (Paul Casey), Kelley Cahill (Jon Rahm), Kristin Stape (Graeme McDowell), Caroline Harrington (Padraig Harrington), Erica Stoll (Rory McIlroy), Emily Braisher (Tyrrell Hatton), Wendy Honner (Shane Lowry), Clare Fleetwood (Tommy Fleetwood), Ebba Karlsson (Robert Karlsson)
One has been doing that out on the course itself. Helen Storey has been taking care of husband Lee Westwood’s golf clubs as his caddie for four years now – but the star’s son Sam will be taking over duties in the US so she can be with the other WAGs.
She has been a lucky charm for Westwood as he went on to chalk up another European Tour win soon after she took on the role.
Another of the WAGs is a talented golfer herself. But then Angela Akins Garcia, wife of Spanish star Sergio, comes from a family of sports stars.
Her father is former American Football quarterback Marty Akins, while her cousin Drew Brees is current quarterback for the New Orleans Saints.
Emma Lofgren, partner of vice-captain Henrik Stenson, also has a sports background. The Swedish couple met at the University of South Carolina, where both played for the golf team, and she has since worked as a coach.
There was one star of Team Europe who turned up in America without a partner to cheer him on. Luckily for single Viktor Hovland, 24, two teammates’ WAGs made sure he didn’t feel left out. Angela Akins Garcia and Emma Lofgren posed with the Norwegian during the photocall for couples. He beamed a huge smile as the pair planted a kiss on each of his cheeks. The partners of two other players in the team, Matt Fitzpatrick and Bernd Wiesberger, did not go to the dinner.
Captain Padraig Harrington of Ireland and team Europe and wife Caroline Harrington pose for a photo during the Team Europe Gala Dinner prior to the 43rd Ryder Cup
Vice-captain Luke Donald of England and team Europe and wife Diane Antonopoulos pose for a photo (left) and Paul Casey of England and team Europe smiles for the camera with wife Pollyanna Woodward (right)
Helen Storey has been taking care of husband Lee Westwood’s (pictured together) golf clubs as his caddie for four years now – but the star’s son Sam will be taking over duties in the US so she can be with the other WAGs
Northern Irish superstar Rory McIlroy has the sport’s supporting cast to thank for finding his wife (pictured together). He met Erica Stoll at the 2012 Ryder Cup in Medinah, Illinois, when he famously overslept due to jet lag and she offered him a lift to the course
Northern Irish superstar Rory McIlroy has the sport’s supporting cast to thank for finding his wife. He met Erica Stoll at the 2012 Ryder Cup in Medinah, Illinois, when he famously overslept due to jet lag.
Erica, then an employee of Ryder Cup organisers PGA of America, offered him a lift to the course. The couple married in April 2017 and have a one-year-old daughter, Poppy.
Yet it is not all glamour in the world of professional golf. As Emily Braisher, the golf blogger and wife of English pro Tyrrell Hatton, has admitted: ‘The WAG lifestyle can come across as nothing short of glamour and bliss, but in reality living out of a suitcase can be tough at times.’
And Katie Poulter, wife of veteran pro Ian, has the sport to thank for one of her most embarrassing moments.
She once accidentally spent a $100 bill signed by golf legend Arnold Palmer which her husband kept in a safe at home. ‘I have no idea what she did with it,’ he later joked. ‘She probably went to get some groceries.’