PHOTO STORY: Palmer Cup Opening Ceremonies a Tribute to 'the King'

PHOTO STORY: Palmer Cup Opening Ceremonies a Tribute to ‘the King’

As Americans, we don’t pay a lot of homage to royalty, but at Thursday’s opening ceremonies of the Palmer Cup competition at Rich Harvest Farms, it was hard not to feel a little graced in the presence of “the King.”

Arnold Palmer, the sports icon and namesake of the international collegiate golf competition taking place the next two days at the renowned Sugar Grove golf course, spoke just briefly at the 6 p.m. ceremonies, but it was more than enough to bring the crowd of state, local and international dignitaries to a standing ovation. Palmer, nicknamed “the King,” is generally regarded as one of the greatest players in men’s professional golf history.

The Palmer Cup is a Ryder-Cup-style match between the best collegiate golfers in the world — 10 representing the United States and 10 representing Europe. Play begins tomorrow (Friday, June 12, 2015), with foursome matches at 7:30 a.m. and four ball matches at 1:30 p.m., weather permitting.

The weather cooperated Thursday night, with thick drops starting to fall only after the ceremonies were complete. The ceremonies includes speeches by members of the United States Golf Association, the The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, Illinois Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti, Rich Harvest Farm owner Jerry Rich, the coaches of the U.S. and European teams and was hosted by 13-time Emmy Award-winning broadcaster Jimmy Roberts.

The ceremony included performances of 11 national anthems and impressive performances by members of the South Shore Drill Team.