By Will Pearson, europeantour.com
at Moscow Country Club
Flag raising, cheerleaders and a rousing soundtrack helped launch the Russian Open Golf Championship (Senior) with great aplomb on Thursday at Moscow Country Club.
Famed for their inimitable commitment to superb entertainment, the Russian organisers did not disappoint as the official opening ceremony in Nakhabino, 30 kilometres north-west of the centre of capital Moscow, duly delivered a spectacle worthy of commencing the European Senior Tour’s second visit to the country.
On the eve of the first round, the day began with a press conference featuring star players and former Ryder Cup captains Colin Montgomerie, Sam Torrance and Ian Woosnam, in which Senior Tour Managing Director Andy Stubbs thanked the club – and the Russian government – for the opportunity to host the US$850,000 event.
The action then moved outside as the driving range and putting green were brought to a standstill by a formidably flexible fivesome of Moscow cheerleaders, who danced their way through a quite magnificent routine to get the opening ceremony underway – and in some style.
All 20 of the countries represented by the 72-man field at Moscow Country Club this week were formally welcomed by individual flag bearers as the ceremony continued with more glitz and glamour.
Vladimir Kuznetsov, a delegate of GlavUpDK, the Ministry of Foreign affairs of the Russian Federation, was then on hand to address the assembled players, Pro-Am guests and international media and spoke of the pride felt by the Russian people in hosting what he hoped would become “one of the premier events on the golfing calendar”, before Russian professional Igor Zatravkin was handed the honour of raising his home country’s flag.
But with big screens, a musical mixture of dance tunes and uplifting orchestral works, plus a dinner-suited compere with the most splendid ponytail, what promises to be a superb week was prefaced by an opening ceremony with a truly unique panache.
If the golf at Moscow CC proves even half as entertaining as this introductory gambit, then you would be minded to watch this space…
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