Golf News - Ryder Cup
more Ryder Cup
News more Golf
News back to Local
Scots return to grassroots as Ryder Cup D-day
Mike Aitken, The Scotsman, 26 October 2000
Scotland's bid to secure the 2009 Ryder Cup, which will be
launched today, goes far beyond the criteria set by the organising committee
for staging the biennial match between Europe and the USA.
It will make a huge financial commitment to golf as well as
delivering unprecedented backing for the development of the game.
Details of the Scottish plan will be officially announced
at a press conference in Edinburgh this morning. Facing stiff competition from
Wales, the northeast of England and Sweden, both the private and public sectors
have come together in Scotland to produce the best possible case for holding
the event at the home of golf.
Accused in some quarters of naiveté and given little
chance of matching the largesse of the Welsh billionaire Terry Matthews, the
owner of Celtic Manor, the Scots have not only dug deep into their pockets but
also come up with a scheme for growing the game which money alone cant
Ireland recently paid the sum of £6.5 million to win
the rights to the contest in 2005, but inflation and the ever-rising status of
the match will boost the initial cost to around £10 million.
Understandably, Scotland is prepared to fund a
multi-million pound investment in golf partly to stoke the feel-good factor for
the nation of winning the rights to host such a celebrated international
Even more meaningful, of course, is the role golf can play
in helping to revive Scotlands ailing tourism industry. New revenue
generated by the Ryder Cup will be counted in tens of millions.
For example, the last Ryder Cup held in Europe at
Valderrama in 1997 is thought to have generated £52 million for the
Andalucia region of Spain.
Already less of an elitist sport in Scotland than almost
any other country in the world, the opportunity to participate in golf will be
open to more young people throughout the land if the 2009 bid proves
Cash would be made available to take the game into
inner-city areas and give even the most disadvantaged children a chance to
While similar initiatives have previously taken place in
the Midlands and were funded by the PGA from Ryder Cup profits, this is the
first time that a pledge to improve the infrastructure of the game from the
bottom up has been built in to any bid.
Apart from promoting inner city golf, it is also understood
that there are significant plans in the pipeline to place golf alongside
football as one of Scotlands leading participant sports.
On top of the sport-for-all element, the best amateur
golfers will also benefit when golf becomes one of the elite sports at the new
Scottish Institute of Sport.
While equally supportive of the bids from Wales, Sweden and
the North-east of England, theres no doubt the PGA would relish the
opportunity to work with the Scottish Executive in building a development
programme for the game from the grassroots to the Ryder Cup.
That said, however worthy the Scottish bid turned out to be
in terms of ideas and incentives, it wouldnt get past first base unless
substantial funding was available.
Thanks to the involvement of the Bank of Scotland, who
announced their commitment as sponsors earlier this month, and the support of
the Scottish Executive, Scotlands Ryder Cup bid will invest millions in
the game over the next nine years.
Even before he became the new Labour leader in Scotland and
prospective First Minister, Henry McLeish promised he would do whatever it
takes to bring the Ryder Cup home to Scotland. Todays official launch
will back those words with deeds.
Although the only function of Scotlands Ryder Cup bid
is to win the match for the nation, mention will be made in the document of the
five courses which have worked closely together during the past year to promote
Gleneagles, Loch Lomond, Turnberry, St Andrews and
Carnoustie are the leading contenders to provide the venue for the match.
However, the decision on which course will be chosen for 2009 is up to
Europes Ryder Cup committee not the Scottish organisers.
This means that Muirfield, which expressed a late note of
interest, is entitled to state its case for hosting the match even if the
clubs men-only membership policy would make it impossible for the
Scottish Executive to support.
Indeed, should Scotland be selected for 2009 at the start
of next year, theres nothing to prevent any course putting forward a bid
before the successful venue is declared during the 2001 match at the
Common sense, though, suggests the famous five are the
front-runners. more Ryder Cup
News more Golf
News back to Local
News up to Top