Stars turn out for US' Ryder Cup bid
US Ryder Cup skipper Davis Love called in the big names on Tuesday as he strove to fire up his team ahead of their bid to regain the trophy from Europe here this week.
The first-time captain has already make it clear that basketball legend Michael Jordan would be encouraged to play a motivational role in inspiring a US win on Sunday.
And several showbiz celebrities and former sports greats with Chicago clubs were in action on the course playing a 2012 Ryder Cup Captains and Celebrity Scramble golf event over 10 holes of the Medinah Country Club layout.
These included golf addicts Bill Murray and Justin Timberlake as well as Ernie Banks (baseball), Richard Dent (American football), Stan Mikita (ice-hockey) and Scottie Pippen (basketball)
Olympics swim legend Michael Phelps was also taking part in what was being seen as an attempt to whip up enthusiasm among Chicago's boisterous sports fans before the event starts on Friday morning.
Love said that his close friend Freddie Couples had given Jordan, who played for most of his career with the Chicago Bulls, a similar role at the President's Cup last year.
"He's entertaining, watching, and we're going to have him in the team room if he wants to come in, or we're going to have him hang out in the locker room. He's just a good motivation for a lot of these guys that don't know him," Love said.
"He doesn't have an official role except for he's one of our buddies and we like having him around.
"And I just ran into Bill Murray, Justin Timberlake, George Lopez, Tom Lehman; it's pretty fun if you come in over there in our player dining room or our locker room.
"We've got a bunch of guys - Michael Phelps is out there playing today. We have got a lot of people that have a lot of interest in The Ryder Cup, and that's pretty cool."
It was all in stark contrast to the approach taken by European captain Jose Maria Olazabal, who admitted that he had not even spoken to Nick Faldo, for whom he was vice-captain the last time the event was held in the United States at Valhalla, Kentucky four years ago.
On that occasion, Faldo was outthought, outspoken and outshone by US counterpart Paul Azinger who ran an aggressive captaincy - at one stage suggesting that it would be good for home fans to cheer for European slip-ups.
The Americans also rolled in on a golf cart, boxing great Muhammad Ali, who was born in Louisville, where the Valhalla course is situated.
Azinger also took his team to the Muhammad Ali centre to watch recordings of some of his fights.
The last time prior to that when the Americans won the cup at Brookline, Massachusetts in 1999, the then President George W Bush attempted to stir patriotic passions by entering the team room and reading a famous letter from the Alamo.
Present on that occasion was Justin Leonard, who was eventually to go on and sink the winning putt in his singles tie against Olazabal sparking wild and controversial US celebrations on the green.
Now the Europe team captain, Olazabal said he preferred a more low-key, focussed approach for his side with the passion coming from within.
"I believe that the players do have a lot of passion for this event. They know what this event is all about. They know it's unique. They have shown that in the past," he said.
"They have shown to me their will to be part of something really special.
"And to be honest I've thought about it, but you know, you would have to have a guy really that really knows what the Ryder Cup is to really get into the hearts of those players.
"So in that regard, I never thought of anyone that could really get to the guys that way."