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Metro Newsroom

Louisville Will Host Festival During 2008 Ryder Cup

Thursday September 20, 2007

‘The Cup Experience’ Expected To Draw Tens of Thousands

Louisville will host The Cup Experience, a series of community events expected to draw tens of thousands of people during the week surrounding the 2008 Ryder Cup, professional golf’s premiere international event to be held next September at Valhalla Golf Club.

Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson announced the new festival at a news conference today at Fourth Street Live!, the venue for one of the four anchor events of The Cup Experience. Regional supercenter Meijer will be the presenting sponsor of The Cup Experience, and branded merchandise already is on sale at area Meijer stores.

“From the Kentucky Derby and Breeders’ Cup to the Senior Games and the Iron Man competition, Louisville is a city that knows how to host major events that draw thousands of people and millions of dollars,” Abramson said.

“The 2008 Ryder Cup will place Louisville in the international spotlight, and The Cup Experience will ensure that people from around the world and around the corner can participate in exciting activities surrounding from the competition at Valhalla Golf Club.”

Abramson was joined at the announcement by Southern Indiana native Fuzzy Zoeller, a three-time U.S. Ryder Cup player and former U.S. Open and Masters champion, and Don Fightmaster, a local golfing legend who was a five-time winner of the National One-Armed Amputee Golf Tournament and twice winner of the International One-Armed Golf Championship.

Abramson named Zoeller as honorary chair of The Cup Louisville 2008 Host Committee, a group of local civic and business leaders formed in cooperation with the PGA of America to support the success of the Ryder Cup at Valhalla September 16-21, 2008.

The Cup Experience will be anchored by four events:

  • The Cup Zone, an interactive experience for both children and adults, for both golfers and casual fans, held at the Kentucky International Convention Center in downtown Louisville;

  • The Cup Village, a signature meeting place at Fourth Street Live! with food, live music and other festivities;

  • The Fightmaster Cup, named for Don Fightmaster and played at the Cardinal Club in Simpsonville, will be the first-ever international competition pitting North American’s best one-armed golfers against their European counterparts;

  • The Soiree Under the Spires, a ticketed event that will provide a special evening of entertainment, dining and mixing with the stars at Churchill Downs.

Additional Cup Experience activities will include an international food tasting downtown on the Belvedere, a concert celebration in Middletown and a new statewide golf tournament with the finals held at Valhalla. Numerous events are expected to be added to the official schedule leading up to the 2008 Ryder Cup. For the latest, go to:

The Cup Experience will model the successful Kentucky Derby Festival Pegasus Pin program, creating a unique pin required for admission to many of The Cup Experience activities and events. Pins will be sold at area Meijer stores, at the entrance to activities and events, and at retail outlets throughout Louisville.

“Meijer is very pleased to support The Cup Experience,” said Rob Beck, group vice president of operations for Meijer’s southern region. “Meijer is a family company and we bring a tradition of community spirit to everything we do. Supporting The Cup Experience is a great fit for Meijer because it creates an opportunity for our customers and their families to celebrate and enjoy one of the premier sporting events in the world.”

Meijer,, is a Grand Rapids, Michigan-based retailer that operates 181 supercenters throughout Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio and Kentucky. As the inventor of the “one stop shopping” concept, Meijer stores have evolved through the years to include expanded fresh produce and meat departments, as well as pharmacies, comprehensive electronics departments, garden centers and apparel offerings.

Official Schedule of Events

The city of Louisville, local organizations and community volunteers have created a slate of events for local and regional businesses, local citizens and out-of-town visitors to participate in the Ryder Cup celebration, regardless of whether they have tickets to the PGA event.

The Cup Experience Signature Events

The Cup Zone

September 16-20 – The Kentucky International Convention Center –

The cornerstone event of The Cup Experience. Enjoy golf lessons and demonstrations, Kentucky's largest indoor driving range, golf simulators, contests, children's activities, attractions, entertainment, refreshments, golf equipment manufacturers, travel professionals, exhibitors, Kentucky-based foods, arts and crafts and more. Admission with Cup Pin.

The Cup Village

September 17-21 Fourth Street Live! in Downtown Louisville - The central gathering spot for people from Louisville and around the world with food and fun that will last into the wee hours. There will be live concerts each night along with the local restaurants, bars and entertainment venues – J. Gumbo’s, Hard Rock Cafe, Red Star Tavern, T.G.I. Fridays, Sully’s Restaurant Saloon, Tengo Sed Cantina, Lucky Strike Lanes, Maker’s Mark Bourbon House & Lounge, Angel’s Rock Bar, Howl at the Moon, Felt billiards lounge and more. Two blocks from The Cup Zone. Admission with Cup Pin.

Click here for more information on Fourth Street Live!

Soiree Under the Spires

September 19 – Churchill Downs – Leave your black tie at home and enjoy an exclusive gala under the historic Churchill Downs Twin Spires. Celebrities, visitors from across the country and around the world will join local folks for Kentucky food and beverage, entertainment and décor; a special event with Kentucky bourbon; as well as a fabulous silent auction. Ticketed event – $500.

The Fightmaster Cup

September 12-13-14 – Cardinal Club, Simpsonville, Kentucky – The first-ever competition between North American champion one-armed golfers and their rivals from Europe. These 12-man teams of highly competitive golfers will square off in a three-day, Ryder Cup format international competition. Named after Louisville’s own Don Fightmaster, an internationally known, one-armed golfer who has inspired numerous young men and women with permanent disabilities to take up the game of golf. Admission with Cup Pin.

Additional The Cup Experience Events

The Cup Taste of the Nations

September 5-6 and September 13-14 – The Belvedere in downtown Louisville, overlooking the Ohio River – For two weekends prior to the start of the Ryder Cup, Metro Louisville's WorldFest events featuring cuisine, crafts and entertainment will honor several countries of participating players on the European Ryder Cup team. Admission with Cup Pin.

The Bourbon Cup

September 19 – Churchill Downs – One of the Commonwealth's signature products, Kentucky Bourbon, is aged in charred oak barrels in the heart of the Bluegrass. During The Soiree Under the Spires, Kentucky distillers will roll out a very precious batch of the spirit with unique activities to follow.

The Cup Concert Celebration

September 20 – Middletown Commonwealth Bank Building – The Louisville East-Middletown Chamber of Commerce presents a concert by The Louisville Orchestra and the Monarchs, followed by a spectacular fireworks display. The event will include Kentucky Bourbon, Kentucky wine and Kentucky barbecue along with music and Kentucky arts and crafts. VIP tables are available. General Admission with Cup Pin.

The Cup Louisville Hospitality Flags

August and September – Shelbyville Road – Decorative flags will line both sides of scenic Shelbyville Road leading up to the entrance of Valhalla Golf Club. Help Louisville celebrate the Ryder Cup by purchasing a commemorative flag for your company and welcome our national and international visitors. Flags will fly for approximately six weeks and be given to each sponsor after the golf competition.

The KPGA Statewide Cup Golf Competition

Summer 2008 – Statewide – The Governor’s Task Force, in conjunction with the Kentucky Section of the PGA of America, will oversee a Ryder Cup-format, statewide tournament for amateur golfers beginning in the summer of 2008. Competition is open. Finals will be held at Valhalla prior to the Ryder Cup.

The PGA of America hosts the 37th Ryder Cup - Valhalla Golf Club - Sept. 16-21, 2008. For tournament information contact the PGA at (502) 245-2000.


Tickets for The Cup Experience events go on sale Summer 2008.

The Cup Pin

Your ticket to many Cup Experience events is a collectible plastic pin. Similar to the world-renowned and often-duplicated Kentucky Derby Festival Pegasus Pin program, a unique pin will be created to commemorate The Cup Experience. These will be on sale starting Summer 2008. The pin will allow admission to several Cup Experience activities and events. Pins will be sold at the entrance to activities and events, at retail outlets throughout Louisville and for a discounted price at area Meijer stores.

The Cup Experience Merchandise

All Pro Championships will create a full line of commemorative The Cup Experience merchandise, including golf shirts, caps and a full line of wearable items using the distinctive golf ball logo of the US and European Union flags. All items will be available at area Meijer stores, a store inside The Cup Zone and at other area retailers or by calling 800-992-9905. For more information, visit


The Mayor's Task Force, headquartered at Greater Louisville Inc., is a not-for-profit organization organized as Louisville Events, Inc. and operating under the name "The Cup Louisville 2008 Host Committee." The Host Committee creates ways for local and regional businesses, local citizens and out-of-town visitors to participate in the Ryder Cup celebration, regardless of whether they have tickets to the event. The focus is presenting memorable hospitality; creating, funding and managing of a series of activities, entertainment, and golf-related events; and providing a platform for businesses and individuals to make connections through golf.