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2009 Ryder Cup
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Men-only Muirfield dropped from 2009 Ryder bid

Donald Walker, The Scotsman, 21 October 2000

Muirfield will no longer be part of Scotland’s bid to host the 2009 Ryder Cup, because of fears that the presence of the men-only golf club will have a negative effect on what is otherwise considered to be a very strong representation.

Five courses declared an interest in hosting the biennial match between Europe and the United States when the Scottish Executive targeted the event, which is also coveted by bidders in Wales, England and Sweden. Then two weeks ago, Muirfield became the sixth Scottish course to put itself forward, joining Gleneagles, Turnberry, St Andrews, Loch Lomond and Carnoustie.

The investment of public money into a bid that was associated with sex discrimination was opposed in yesterday’s edition of The Scotsman, and was the subject of private concern at the Scottish Executive, where politicians were uncomfortable on the principle and fearful of bad publicity which could harm the overall Scottish bid.

As a result of those concerns, the bid document which will be published next Thursday will make no mention of Muirfield.

After Scotland’s formal bid is delivered to the Ryder Cup committee, a decision on which country will host the 2009 event is expected in January. The committee will then decide the specific course by September.

A spokesman for Scottish Enterprise, which has backed the campaign of the East Lothian course, insisted that Muirfield remained a credible venue. “Muirfield has just been voted Scotland’s top golf course which justifies its inclusion in Scotland’s Ryder Cup bid,” said the spokesman. “It is the venue for the 2002 Open and has hosted many men’s and women's international events in the past.”

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