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Golf News - 2009 Ryder Cup
Confusion over Scottish bids - including two 'around St Andrews' - Player views and reaction
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Coltart's case for Scotland

Ian Broadley, The Herald, 8 November 2000

Coltart is adamant that the 2009 Ryder Cup must return to Scotland because its rightful claims have been ignored for 27 years.

Preparing for the American Express Championship, the Scot insisted: "That is too long to wait for the Ryder Cup to return to our country. Scotland needs it to attract tourists. Wherever I go there are few signs telling people to play golf at the birthplace of the game, but when I travel to Ireland, for instance, the opposite is true and they have the 2005 Ryder Cup at The K Club.

"Yet we have courses which are among the best in the world and the friendliest people. We should be beating our own drum much louder. For me, playing on a winning Ryder Cup team in my native land would be fantastic."

While Sandy Jones, chief executive of the Professional Golfers Association, was insistent that no decision has yet been reached about the 2009 event, Herald Sport understands Scotland is in line to secure one of the most prestigious events in sport.

This is due to the initiative of the Scottish Executive and the Bank of Scotland in jointly launching a £30m bid to defeat attempts by England and Wales to stage the biannual contest.

"We are still considering bids from Scotland, England and Wales," Jones said last night. "The successful country will be announced early in February and after that the host course be considered.

"Should it be Scotland, there are six possibilities. Carnoustie, Loch Lomond, Turnberry, Gleneagles, and two around St Andrews.

Ryder Cup claim is premature

The Courier, 8 November 2000

A report that Gleneagles has been given a nudge and a wink to suggest it will be awarded the 2009 Ryder Cup appears to be a fairway’s width off the mark, as the Perthshire golfing resort does not even yet have a bid on the table to be considered.

As of now, Gleneagles is one of a number of Scottish courses which has been included in a Scotland-wide effort to bring the biennial America versus Europe competition to this country.

European golf’s governing body, the PGA, will announce in January which nation will host the 2009 matches but it will not be until September that individual bids will be judged.

Gleneagles therefore confirmed yesterday that to suggest that they have already been earmarked as the successful venue - claim made by a Glasgow newspaper - would be “very very premature to say the Least."

A spokesperson pointed out, “We were involved with Scotland’s bid at the end of last month and we won’t hear anything about that until January, then September will be the time for individual bids should Scotland be chosen as the host country.

“Gleneagles certainly isn’t involved at the moment and effectively, there is no bid.

“Come January we would be delighted if Scotland is chosen and we can submit our bid and we will put ours in alongside the other venues in this country.

“But we definitely have not been chosen yet and to say that is very, very premature to say the least."

Woods backs Scotland bid to host Ryder Cup

Mike Aitken, The Scotsman, 8 November 2000

Tiger Woods, the world's leading golfer, has given his backing to Scotland's bid to host the Ryder Cup in 2009.

Speaking to The Scotsman as he strolled to the practice range at the American Express Championship in Valderrama, Woods talked of his fondness for the country which gave the game of golf to the world.

"I would love to play in a Ryder Cup in Scotland – that would be a fantastic thing to do," he said. "Most of all I would really like to take part in a Ryder Cup on a links course. Links golf is one of the aspects of the game I enjoy most. I know that they used to play the Ryder Cup on links courses all the time. It would be terrific if that could happen again.

While the Scottish Executive's bid to edge out opposition from Wales and England involves support from inland venues at Gleneagles and Loch Lomond, officials at Turnberry, St Andrews and Carnoustie will be pleased to learn Woods is keen to compete in golf's most prestigious event on one of Scotland's great seaside links.

In the bidding process for 2009 – no decision on a country, never mind a course, will be reached before the new year – only Scotland offers the possibility of playing on a links. Although not mentioned in the official bid document, Muirfield has also expressed an interest in holding the match again.

If Woods has a preference for any venue, it would probably be for the Old Course. The scene of his first Open championship victory in July and career Grand Slam holds a special place in Tiger's affections. In fact, he wishes he could go back to St Andrews next summer to defend his title.

"Winning at St Andrews was one of the highlights of my year and I particularly enjoy all the history and tradition of the Old Course. I think it would be really great if the Open was held at the Old Course every year.

Tiger pitches in

Editorial, The Scotsman, 8 November 2000

You can already place a bet on Tiger Woods becoming president of the United States in 2016, a sign of the place he has won himself in his country’s national psyche. His popularity is hardly surprising - Woods, after all, is arguably the greatest exponent of golf we have ever seen and one of the finest sportsman in the world.

Now, to match his prowess as a player, the American has demonstrated his empathy for the traditions of the game. Golf was conceived and nurtured in Scotland, then gifted to the world, and it is proper that this country should be the venue for the Ryder Cup in 2009. Woods, by all accounts a clear-thinking individual, endorses our view. He judges quite simply that Scotland would be a "fantastic" venue, and so it is.

Challenged by venues in England and Wales, a number of Scottish courses are bidding to host the cup, and though many feel this country is the sport’s natural home, the result is not a foregone conclusion. But with the £24 million backing announced by the Scottish executive last month and now the endorsement of the greatest player in the world, we have cause to hope for the best.

and expanding on the political theme

Extract, Mike Aitken, The Scotsman, 8 November 2000

.....Since he is already surrounded by more security than a head of state, perhaps it was not so surprising that one leading British bookmaker offered odds of 1,000-1 against Tiger Woods becoming president of the United States by 2016.

As the American people cast their votes for a new leader yesterday, Woods made light of the suggestion, but did not exactly rule out the possibility of one day becoming the first scratch golfer to run the free world.

If charisma came into the equation, you fancy Woods would have beaten George W Bush or Al Gore in a landslide. John F Kennedy was the best golfer to sit in the White House - he had a single-figure handicap - but did not like people to know he played the game. In the Sixties, golf was seen as a pastime for a wealthy elite. JFK preferred to distance himself from that image.

Tiger, of course, changed the way people perceive golf. If the sport has become in any way cool, it was because a young, handsome black man demonstrated he could play the game better than any golfer ever.

Tiger revealed he had voted in the election before leaving his home in Orlando, Florida, but would not say who for.

Most American professional golfers, incidentally, are Republicans and veer to the right of Attila the Hun on many issues.

Woods’ lips were sealed. "NC," he said, "no comment."

Asked if he might be a candidate himself at some point in the future, Woods was both charming and circumspect.........

Europe’s leading players call for Tour audit

Extract, Mark Garrod, The Scotsman, 8 Nov 2000

The European Tour is being petitioned by some of its biggest players - Nick Faldo, Seve Ballesteros, Darren Clarke and Lee Westwood included - to submit its multi-million-pound finances to outside auditors.

After an initial letter from Faldo, Ballesteros, Bernhard Langer and Jose Maria Olazabal to the tour’s executive director, Ken Schofield, the signatures of around 60 other players were sought at last week’s Volvo Masters. And, almost to a man, they agreed to sign.

Olazabal said yesterday: "I think it’s a very simple issue. We just want to know where the money is going."

Mitchell Platts, director of communications and public relations for the tour, confirmed the letter from Faldo, Ballesteros, Langer and Olazabal had arrived, but not the petition.

On the letter he said: "We responded positively to this request by seeking not only the identity of the independent auditor, but also a suitable date for a meeting."

Clarke, who could be crowned Europe’s No1 on Sunday, said yesterday the names of the other players on the letter persuaded him to add his.

"They have been around for a lot longer than I have and I thought it the right thing to do," he said. "I am not aware of anything wrong, but I think the guys just want the books audited to see what the result is. People are not saying that money is going missing or anything."

As a member of the tour’s tournament committee, Scotland’s Colin Montgomerie did not sign the letter. His manager, Guy Kinnings, was reported as saying: "Colin feels that if he has any issues to raise, he does it through the committee."

The Ryder Cup has become such a huge financial success through television contracts, sponsorship and ticket sales that the distribution of cup profits is likely to be one area where the players want questions to be answered. Another concerns the investment in tour-owned courses and the the staffing structure at the tour’s Wentworth headquarters......

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