Golf News - Ryder Cup
2009 Ryder Cup -
Scottish bid - promise 'to sweep away sexism and elitism'
more Ryder Cup News more
Golf News back to
Ryder Cup makes a pitch for ladies
Mike Aitken, The Scotsman, 10 January 2001
Bringing the Ryder Cup to the home of golf in 2009 will play
a significant role in helping to eliminate sexism from the sport, according to
Gavin Hastings, who is fronting Scotlands bid.
After Wales launched their golf development campaign to
host the match yesterday with a promise "to sweep away sexism and elitism,"
Hastings revealed that programmes to improve opportunities for women in golf
were already built into Scotlands candidacy.
The Ladies First initiative, which was introduced in Fife
last year with backing from the local tourist board, is due to be rolled out
across the country over the next five years.
Tailored to women golfers everywhere and promoted
throughout the UK, this scheme gives them an exclusive opportunity to play
Fifes top courses at reasonable rates.
Bearing in mind that Scottish Executive minister Rhona
Brankin played such a key role in preparing the bid, it should come as no
surprise to learn that Scotlands submission offers an inclusive vision
for the games future.
Last year, the best-ever staging of the Solheim Cup took
place at Loch Lomond with a Scot captaining the European team and Janice Moodie
playing a starring role against the Americans.
"An important part of our bid is the pledge to give every
child of nine an opportunity to play the game - and that means every girl as
well as boy," added Hastings.
"Im sure this will help to remove any lingering
traces of sexism from the game. Compared to some other countries, Scotland has
always taken a less elitist or sexist view of golf. Im confident that the
added spur of the Ryder Cup will give us an opportunity to dismantle any
"As far as the organisation of the game in Scotland is
concerned, bodies such as the Scottish Golf Union and the Scottish Ladies are
already working closer together than ever before."
While Hastings was underlining the importance to Scotland
of a successful bid for 2009, Tony Lewis, the chairman of the Welsh committee,
indicated that talks have begun which could see the Welsh mens and
ladies unions merge in the future. "The bid [from Wales] goes far beyond
a single tournament, huge though the Ryder Cup is," said Lewis.
"The aim is to transform the golfing landscape in Wales,
create new facilities and opportunities and sweep away sexism and elitism
"We will work towards these aims anyway, but a successful
Ryder Cup bid would act as a catalyst, allowing the game to develop much more
rapidly and opening up much greater opportunities for public and private sector
Andrew Morgan, chairman of the WGUs development
committee, explained how the mens and womens unions would work
better as a single body. "With the Ryder Cup as the catalyst for change, Wales
would like to abolish existing divisions, restrictions and pre-conceptions
surrounding the game of golf. We want the golfers of Wales to be girls, boys.
women and men," he said.
Morgan added that new facilities had to be at the heart of
this plan to increase participation - particularly when the membership of
private clubs was already oversubscribed.
"Even when people are in a position to afford membership
fees, they often feel intimidated by the elitist image of the game," he added.
"That scenario is changing, but we need to accelerate that change. We want to
remove these barriers. We can do so with the provision of more public
pay-and-play courses that are available to local communities."
At a conference attended by the Welsh First Minister Rhodri
Morgan, Lewis said that a successful Welsh bid was vital for the development of
the game in the principality.
"Wales wants the opportunity to reach the level achieved in
Scotland, Ireland, England and the other top golfing nations."
As well as Scotland and Wales, the north-east of England is
bidding to host the match in 2009. All three countries are expected to make
presentations shortly to the Ryder Cup committee with a final decision on the
identity of the winner due to be announced in late February or March.
But the successful course wont be named until the
match against the Americans at the Belfry in September. more Ryder Cup News more
Golf News back to
Local News up to