(PARIS) – Olympic legend Michael Phelps, former Secretary of State Dr. Condoleezza Rice, actor Samuel L. Jackson and French tennis star Yannick Noah head the roster of participants in the Celebrity Match for the 42nd Ryder Cup. The 10-hole scramble will feature celebrities from the United States and Europe and kick-off the week’s festivities prior to the start of Ryder Cup, Sept. 28. The celebrity teams will once again blend talent and personalities spanning sports and the arts.
The match will use the following rotation: Holes No. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18.
Celebrities from the United States include:
James Blake is a retired American tennis player who had 24 singles finals appearances while attaining a career-high World No. 4 ranking. Among Blake’s successes on court were reaching the final of the 2006 Tennis Masters Cup, the semifinals of the Beijing Olympics, and the quarterfinals of the Australian Open (2008) and U.S. Open (2005, 2006), as well as being the former American No. 1. Blake was a key performer for the United States 2007 Davis Cup championship team, going 2–0 in the championship tie vs. Russia at second singles.
Samuel L. Jackson is an American actor, film producer and ranked the highest grossing box office star in film history. A graduate of Morehouse College in 1972, Jackson performed skits about racial inequality with a theater company. He moved to New York City where his friendship with Spike Lee helped land him his first movie roles. In 1994, he was nominated for an Academy Award for his role in Pulp Fiction. Jackson has appeared in more than 100 films, and received critical and commercial acclaim for more than two decades.
Nick Jonas is an American singer, songwriter, actor and record producer. Jonas began acting at age seven, and released his debut single in 2002. He formed a band with his older brothers, Joe and Kevin, the Jonas Brothers. The group released a solo album in 2006 and through 2010, were one of the most popular bands in the world. In 2013, after the band had parted ways, Jonas returned to a highly prolific solo career.
Greg Kinnear is an American actor and television personality. He was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award for his role in As Good as It Gets. Kinnear has appeared in many popular films, including Heaven is for Real, Sabrina, We Were Soldiers, Stuck on You, Little Miss Sunshine, Someone Like You, Robots, Invincible and Green Zone, The Last Song and television roles, such as Friends, Talk Soup, The Kennedys, Modern Family and Rake.
John McEnroe is a retired American tennis player, who is considered among the greatest in the history of the sport. He has won seven Grand Slam single and nine doubles titles. McEnroe attained the No. 1 ranking in both singles and doubles, finishing his career with 77 singles and doubles titles. It remains the highest combined men’s winning total of the Open Era. McEnroe was a member of five winning Davis Cup teams and later served as Captain. He is a sports commentator for the BBC at Wimbledon.
Michael Phelps is a retired competitive swimmer who became the most successful and decorated Olympian of all time by earning 28 medals, which include 23 Olympic golds. Phelps’ remarkable run covers four Olympic Games beginning in 2004. He announced his retirement following the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. After the 2008 Summer Olympics, Phelps launched the Michael Phelps Foundation, which focuses on growing the sport of swimming and promoting healthier lifestyles.
Dr. Condoleezza Rice is a former United States Secretary of State and National Security Advisor, positions she held during the administration of President George W. Bush. She is the Denning Professor in Global Business and the Economy at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business and a professor of political science at the university. In 2012, Dr. Rice and South Carolina financier Darla Moore became the first two women members of Augusta National Golf Club.
Kurt Russell is an Emmy and Golden Globes-nominated actor. He began acting on television for the western series, The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters (1963–64). In the late 1960s, he signed a 10-year contract with The Walt Disney Company where, according to Robert Osborne, he became the studio's top star of the 1970s. Kurt’s portrayal of U.S. Olympic hockey coach Herb Brooks in the 2004 film Miracle, won widespread acclaim.
Kelly Slater is an American professional surfer. He has been crowned World Surf League Champion a record 11 times, including five consecutive titles in 1994–98. He is the youngest (at age 20) and the oldest (at age 39) to win the title. Upon winning his fifth world title in 1997, Kelly passed Australian surfer Mark Richards to become the most successful champion in the history of the sport.
Luke Wilson is one of America’s most popular actors. He is perhaps best recognized for his comedic roles in the films “The Royal Tenenbaums,” “Legally Blonde,” “Old School” and “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy.” He is the youngest brother of actors Andrew and Owen Wilson, the latter who recruited him for his first film, “Bottle Rocket” in 1996.
Celebrities from Europe include:
Dany Boon is a French comedian and filmmaker, who was born Daniel Hamidou and takes his stage name from the American television program, Daniel Boone. He began his career dubbing cartoons and performing as a mime in the street. In 1992, he was given his first break as a comedian by French television personality Patrick Sébastien, who invited him on his show. Boon was then offered several roles in movies, notably in the film Joyeux Noël that made it on the international scene in 2005. In February 2008, he released a film called Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis, a comedy based on prejudices held about the region, which went on to break French box-office records. In 2008, Boon was the highest-paid actor in European film history.
Alessandro Del Piero is an Italian former professional soccer player. Alessandro is widely regarded by players, pundits, and managers as one of the greatest players of his generation, and as one of the best Italian players of all time. He won the Serie A Italian Footballer of the Year award in 1998 and 2008. A prolific goal-scorer, he is currently the No. 2 all-time Italian top-scorer in all competitions, with 346 goals, behind only Silvio Piola (390).
Jamie Dornan is an actor, model, and musician from Northern Ireland. His wide range of motion picture and television roles that span sheriff Graham Humbert in the ABC series Once Upon a Time (2011–2013); and as serial killer Paul Spector in the BBC Two and RTÉ One crime drama series The Fall (2013–2016), the latter of which won him an Irish Film and Television Award for Best Actor in Television and was nominated for a British Academy Television Award for Best Actor.
Luis Figo is a retired Portuguese soccer star who was a midfielder for Sporting CP, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Inter Milan before retiring in 2009. He won 127 caps for the Portugal national team, a record at the time but later broken by Cristiano Ronaldo. Figo is regarded as one of the greatest players of his generation. His 106 assists are the second-most in La Liga history, behind Lionel Messi. Pelé named him in the FIFA 100 list of the world's greatest living players. Figo scored 32 goals for Portugal, representing the nation at three European Championships and two World Cups.
Laura Flessel-Colovic is a former French Minister of Sports, who served from 2017-18. She was anepée fencer and won five Olympic medals, the most of any French sportswoman. Flessel-Colovic was France's flag-bearer at the 2012 Summer Olympics opening ceremony in London, which was her fifth and final Olympic competition.
Guy Forget is a retired French tennis player and is currently the director of the French Open. During his career, he helped France win the Davis Cup in both 1991 and 1996. Since retiring as a player, he has served as France's Davis Cup team captain. Forget first came to the tennis world's attention as an outstanding junior player who won the 1982 French Open junior title. He turned professional later that year. In 1986, he reached the fourth round of Roland Garros, his best grand slam at that point, and won his first top-level singles title in Toulouse, and was also part of the winning World Team Cup unit. In 1987, Forget and Yannick Noah finished runners-up in the men's doubles at the French Open.
David Ginola is a former French international soccer player who has also worked as an actor, model and football analyst. A former forward, Ginola played football for 10 seasons in in his homeland before making the move from Paris Saint-Germain to Newcastle United in the English Premier League in 1995. He continued playing in the Premier League for Tottenham Hotspur, Aston Villa and Everton before retiring in 2002. Since his retirement from soccer, Ginola has been an actor and a regular contributor to BBC, BT and CNN.
Niall Horan is an Irish singer-songwriter and guitarist, known as a member of the boy band One Direction. Niall has involved himself in the sports world a number of times on social media, and on April 8, 2015 he caddied for professional golfer Rory McIlroy for the Par 3 contest prior to the 2015 Masters Tournament in Augusta, Georgia. In 2016, Niall and golf player Justin Rose created the "Horan and Rose Gala", a charity event in aid of Cancer Research UK Kids and Teens.
Yannick Noah is a retired French professional tennis player who captured the 1983 French Open, and is currently the captain of both France's Davis Cup and Fed Cup teams. During a career spanning nearly two decades, Noah captured a total of 23 singles titles and 16 doubles titles, reaching a career-high singles ranking of World No. 3 and the World No. 1 doubles ranking (each in 1986). Since his retirement from tennis, Noah has been a popular music performer and as the co-founder, with his mother, of a charity organization for underprivileged children. Noah also is the father of Joakim Noah of the NBA New York Knicks.
Brian O’Driscoll is a retired Irish professional rugby union player. He played at outside center for the Irish provincial team Leinster and for Ireland. He captained Ireland from 2003 until 2012, and captained the British and Irish Lions for their 2005 tour of New Zealand. He is regarded as one of the greatest rugby players of all time.