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2009 Ryder Cup - Scottish bid, youth strategy, funding
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£30m bid to find future stars

Ian Broadley, The Herald, 27 October 2000

A £30m drive was launched yesterday to secure the 2009 Ryder Cup and develop golf in Scotland over the next decade.

Revealing a unique partnership between the public and private sectors to fund the bid, Sam Galbraith, Scottish Executive Cabinet Minister with responsibility for sport, also promised to initiate inner-city programmes to recruit new players.

This will put Scotland on a par with the USA, where the First Tee Programme has already established 27 inner-city learning centres and mini-courses to take golf to the ghettos.

There was also a pledge that by 2009, the first available date that the Ryder Cup can be secured, every child by the age of nine will have been introduced to the game.

The Welsh Parliament will today unveil their plans to attract the biennial series to Celtic Manor, the £100m resort built and owned by Terry Matthews.

The other rivals to the Scottish bid, Slaley Hall in Cumbria and Barseback, near Malmo in Sweden, have yet to declare their hand. However, it is unlikely to equal the Scottish bid, which is a massive boost for golf in the new century. The Scottish Executive has already committed to investing £14m on improving existing facilities and creating new courses.

A further £10m will be forthcoming if the Ryder Cup Committee accepts their bid when a decision is reached in January. The fact that the PGA's executive director, Sandy Jones, is a Scot will not harm the country's cause.

The Bank of Scotland, which has put forward an additional £6m, because of the benefits to the Scottish economy of the Ryder Cup, which estimates believe will generate at least £67m.

Scotland's top players Colin Montgomerie, former Open champion Paul Lawrie, and European Ryder Cup captain Sam Torrance all gave their backing to the event returning to the birthplace of the game for the first time since 1973.

Montgomerie, who has been recruited as unofficial golfing ambassador, explained: "Scots have a mixture of pride and ambition that make them want to be the best. In my golfing career, I have always aimed for the top and I know that my fellow players like Sam Torrance and Paul Lawrie feel the same.

"It's probably why we have some of the best courses in the world. What other nation can boast five venues of the quality of St Andrews, Loch Lomond, Gleneagles, Turnberry, and Car- noustie to stage the Ryder Cup?

"That desire to be the best is certainly why we invented the finest game in the world. It's also why we are continuing to invest in new courses and facilities.

"You have to remember that golf is the people's game in Scotland, played by men, women and children from all walks of life. Golf is part of the fabric of the nation.

"I am proud to support Scotland's bid for the Ryder Cup in 2009 and we have developed the most comprehensive bid possible.

"It will be a catalyst for the development of the game. To give so many youngsters access to the sport is a commitment few nations can boast.

"I know that we can deliver a Ryder Cup that will leave a legacy of golf for the whole country to enjoy."

Aberdonian Lawrie endorsed that view and insisted that winning the biennial series on home soil would be an even greater thrill than lifting the claret jug.

"It would be huge to host the Ryder Cup at the home of golf and it is time it did return here," Lawrie said. "I could think of nothing better than to play on a winning European team in Scotland - that would even surpass my Open Championship victory at Carnoustie," Lawrie insisted.

"Our fans are the most knowledgeable and sporting in the game. All the European players love competing here because of the reception they get from them.

"The Ryder Cup is now one of the truly great sporting events of the world and one in which golfers on either side of the Atlantic are desperate to be involved.

"The passionate support which is generated by the event is staggering. I know that if Scotland hosts it in 2009, the support of the Scottish crowds will be invaluable in helping us win the trophy.

"To see the Ryder Cup won in my native country would be very special indeed."

Muirfield is an unofficial contender to host the series and other clubs could throw their hat into the ring if the bid succeeds.

The Scottish Executive identified three key objectives in compiling their bid: re-establishing and clarifying Scotland as the home of golf, maximising the opportunities which hosting the Ryder Cup would provide to develop the game at every level and the potential that the biennial series would offer in increasing the number of golf tourists.

Galbraith, maintaining that the bid was of the highest quality and met every criteria, said: "The Scottish Executive and their public sector partners have earmarked £24m for the development and promotion of golf over the next decade. Over 50 per cent of this is new money to support Scotland's Ryder Cup bid.

"A progressive programme of golf development initiatives is also a key element of the bid. We will invest a further £10m to secure the Ryder Cup and make it the focal point of a co-ordinated drive to boost golf tourism and increase participation in the sport to new levels. The 2009 Ryder Cup presents a unique opportunity for Scotland.

"This is the home of golf and has a proud history in the game but it is necessary to look to the future as well as to its traditions."

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