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Gleneagles will be venue for 2009 Ryder Cup
Ian Broadley, The Herald, 7 November 2000
Scotland is set to celebrate in the New Year by being
awarded the 2009 Ryder Cup with Gleneagles the venue for the biennial contest
against the USA.
While the Ryder Cup committee will not announce the
successful host nation until January, a source confirmed that the bid to bring
the series back to the home of golf has been more impressive than those from
England and Wales.
Just two weeks ago, a £30m drive to secure the Ryder
Cup was launched by the Scottish Executive. Approximately £14m had
already been pledged to develop facilities and create new courses.
However, a further £10m was promised if the bid
succeeded with the Royal Bank of Scotland kicking in £6m because of the
economic benefits to be gained by the country.
Colin Montgomerie was also willingly recruited as
unofficial golfing ambassador and Europe's No. 1 has been active in promoting
the Scottish campaign.
It is the PGA who will allocate the highly prestigious
event and it will be a triumph for all concerned if it returns to the
birthplace of the game of golf for only the second time in its history.
However, it will be a major disappointment for England and
Wales to be passed over, not to mention St Andrews, Carnoustie, Loch Lomond and
Muirfield, which was not included in the Scottish Executive list because of its
Each of these grand courses has its own appeal, but my
information is that it is Celtic Manor, the £100m resort built by Welsh
tycoon Terry Matthews, which was regarded as the strongest challenger to
Gleneagles. But the luxury Perthshire resort has forged strong links with the
PGA through staging the Scottish Professional Golf Championship for the past
Being centrally located, served by roadways and rail, it is
readily accessible and has proved capable of accommodating the huge crowds
which this event will attract.
The Monarch's Course, designed by Jack Nicklaus a decade
ago, is sited on a natural amphi-theatre of 250 acres, one of the largest land
masses in Europe.
Equally, the Scottish Executive's commitment to developing
the game through inner city programmes, introducing every child just born to
the game by the age of nine and placing sports instructors in every school
within three years bettered any pledges contained in rival bids.
The Ryder Cup is one of the greatest events in global sport
and generates enormous profits. It is estimated that the 2009 contest will
boost the local economy by at least an additional £67m.
While there is not the slightest suggestion of impropriety,
Europe's players are now demanding to know precisely where those profits are
An initial request to the European Tour was informed that
the books could only be opened if playing members agreed. A poll was then taken
of all competitors at the final day of the Volvo Masters and 59 players signed
forms calling for their executive director, Ken Schofield, to reveal the tour's
finances. Only one player, reputedly Montgomerie, refused to add his name to
Now a heavyweight delegation of Seve Ballesteros, Nick
Faldo, Bernhard Langer and Jose Maria Olazabal, all major champions and each
highly influential, has been appointed to oversee the audit.
Similar action was taken in the United States last year
where the Ryder Cup at Brookline benefited Boston by $120m. Tiger Woods, David
Duval, Mark O'Meara and Phil Mickelson were among an elite group which
threatened to boycott the event unless paid appearance money.
The PGA of America acceded to their demands and disclosed
their financial dealings to avert a damaging confrontation. Player-power won
and now those in charge at Wentworth, Surrey, are likely to find their
decisions and policies challenged more frequently by members seeking a greater
There is a belief the European Tour is biased towards
Britain and the needs of the continental players come second best. This feeling
was manifested when Mark James was appointed assistant to Sam Torrance.
Frenchman Jean van de Velde claimed the post should have gone to a continental,
who would have been able to relate better to the foreigners in the team.
His appeal was ignored but James was forced to resign
because of the fall-out from his controversial book 'Into the Bearpit' on the
last Ryder Cup, but the protest over his position was indicative of the
Coltard adds extra weight to game plan
Extract, Mike Aitken, The Scotsman, 7 November
.....Talk of the Ryder Cup leads to Scotlands bid for
the match in 2009. As a patriot, Coltart is optimistic the match will return
north of the Border for the first time since 1973.
That said, he believes the powers that be need to work
harder at marketing Scotland as the worlds No 1 golf destination.
"We need to attract more people to visit Scotland at a time
when tourism is flagging," he agreed. "So the Ryder Cup would help in that
respect. But I feel as if more still needs to be done to promote Scotland
"As a country, were known as the home of golf. Yet
when I play in tournaments abroad, I never see any signs or boards on the
courses publicising Scotland. What I do see are lots of signs advertising golf
in Ireland. I dont understand why, when there are millions of golfers
around the world, the Scottish Tourist Board didnt do more to grab their
Coltart was intrigued by the Scottish Executives
commitment to give every child aged under nine the opportunity to play the
game. He wonders how that promise would work in practice and which clubs were
going to accommodate all these youngsters.
"I hope that when the politicians say those things that
they know what theyre talking about," he said. "A lot of courses
wont let kids play at all. Its important that youngsters do go to
clubs where there is a strong junior section and they can be taught the
etiquette of the game.
"When I was a boy, I played as often as I could. Whenever I
was holding up an adult member on the course, then I stepped aside. I remember
how before championships at the club I would rake the bunkers and repair
divots. Im not saying young people should be told to do odd jobs, but
they can be asked.
"Juniors are made welcome when they behave in the right
way. These days, though, theres a view that youngsters are entitled to
play irrespective of anyone else. Thats when some clubs put up barriers
and dont let them on."
Whatever concerns he may have with the detail of
Scotlands bid, Coltart reckons the chance to play in a Ryder Cup on home
turf would be as good as it gets.
There might even be a chance to settle an old score with
Tiger. "How would you top that?" he beamed. "As long as you finished on the
winning side, of course!" more Ryder
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