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Golf News - 2009 Ryder Cup
Lavish gala reception for golf reps
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Ryder bid taken to ramparts

Mike Aitken, The Scotsman, 21 November 2000

Scotland rolled out the red carpet last week for Ryder Cup officials when a was held at Edinburgh Castle.

It was a measure of the importance of the function that First Minister Henry McLeish acted as host, and the significance attached by the Scottish Executive to bringing the 2009 contest north of the Border was made abundantly clear at the glittering occasion.

Apart from McLeish and fellow minister Sam Galbraith, representatives of Scottish Enterprise and the Scottish Tourist Board and the chairman and chief executive of sportscotland were on hand at the dinner to remind representatives of the Ryder Cup committee and the Professional Golfers’ Association of Scotland’s desire to stage the match between Europe and the United States for the first time since 1973.

And my information is that the meeting was a success in confirming the message that the Ryder Cup is a priority for the executive who have backing from the very top.

A decision on which country will be allocated the 2009 match is expected early next year: Wales and the north-east of England are the other contenders.

Following the revelation of Tiger Woods’ support for Scotland’s bid in these columns there was a further boost for Scottish hopes when the organisers of Tiger’s clinic in Hyde Park last week invited two young Scottish golfers to watch the great man in action.

After learning of the Scottish Executive’s commitment to give every child a chance to play the game by the age of nine, Woods’ management asked Steven Hegarty, 10, from Monifeith in Angus, and Eildh Stevenson, 8, from Gullane, East Lothian, to attend.

Woods is involved in promoting the game for young people through the Tiger Woods Foundation, and the Pied Piper of international golf made a huge impression on the youngsters.

“Now that I’ve seen what Tiger can do, I’m practising even harder,” said Eilidh. “I want to be a professional one day.”

Still on the subject of the Ryder Cup, the match’s right to be considered in the same breath as the World Cup and the Olympics will be underlined when a new sponsorship programme is rolled out early next month.

In the past, when the Ryder Cup was staged in Europe, the match had a title sponsor in Johnnie Walker.

Now, the contest between Europe and America will be backed by a string of prestigious backers.

None of these companies will have their name in front of the title, but all will benefit from being associated with golf’s pre-eminent event when the 2001 contest takes place at the Belfry in September.

It is expected that the identities of the four sponsors will be unveiled in December. Apparently, two of the companies involved are new to golf.

Already a moneyspinning event, the addition of fresh commercial support will turn the Ryder Cup into an even more lucrative venture for the game in Europe.

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