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2009 Ryder Cup -
Scottish bid, other bids, money and politics
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Galbraith drives home youthful exercise as part of Ryder
Mike Aitken, The Scotsman, 1 February 2001
A decision on which country will be awarded the right to
host the 2009 match between Europe and America is not expected to be reached at
this months meeting of the Ryder Cup committee. Instead, the successful
bid is more likely to be identified in the spring.
Although the three competing countries - Scotland, Wales
and the North of England - all want to know their fate as soon as possible, it
now looks improbable that the committee will find themselves in a position to
make an immediate judgment after the bids are assessed on 13 and 14
Instead, the Ryder Cup committee is more likely to take a
view on how best to proceed and what to do next. It may well be that
clarification is needed on a number of issues raised by each of the bids before
any final verdict can be reached.
While the European Tour would happily leave any decision
until the summer, it is thought the Professional Golfers Association are more
sympathetic to the position of the three bidders, and will try to make their
findings public as soon as possible.
Certainly, my understanding is that Scotland want to see a
swift resolution of the bidding process on the grounds that the sooner a
decision is reached the quicker all the recommendations in their bid can be
implemented if theyre successful.
Although he doesnt yet know when the race will reach
the finishing line, Sam Galbraith, Scotlands sports minister, indicated
yesterday he was "quietly confident" about landing the 2009 match between
Europe and America.
Speaking at a press conference in Edinburgh where the Bank
of Scotland agreed to sponsor the Scottish Junior Masters Tournament - the
competition involves 2,500 boys and girls - Mr Galbraith was in upbeat
He said that one of the most important aspects of
Scotlands Ryder Cup bid was the manner in which it combines the promotion
of excellence at the top with the grassroots promotion of the game.
The minister believes that Scotlands pledge to give
every child under nine the chance to play the game is vital to the success of
the bid. However, he was insistent there would be no single blueprint to
achieve that goal and argued different solutions would be found in different
parts of the country.
"The Bank of Scotland Junior Masters is an important
initiative in the overall junior golf programme," he added. "As part of our
Ryder Cup bid we have pledged that by 2009 every child in Scotland will have
been introduced to the game of golf by the time they are nine years old.
Im confident that these young champions will be pressing for Ryder Cup
and Solheim Cup places in the near future."
Ian Rae, Scotlands first national golf coach, also
was enthusiastic about the range of new developments taking place in the
Scottish game. Rae, who coaches European Tour players Stephen Gallacher and
Dean Robertson, believes its just as important for the home of golf to
groom tomorrows stars.
"These junior masters are the stars of the future and their
talents need to be nurtured and developed," he said. "Scotlands
commitment to cultivate junior golfers as part of the Ryder Cup bid places it
at the forefront of junior excellence."
As well as enlisting a national golf coach, an announcement
will be made soon about the appointment of a youth development manager to
co-ordinate Scotlands junior golf strategy. This story was broken in
these columns last month when it emerged how closely sportscotland, the
Scottish PGA, the Scottish Golf Union, the Scottish Ladies Golfing Association
and the Golf Foundation were working together.
Of course, all concerned with the Scottish bid appreciate
they will need to invest at the elite end of the sport as well as in junior
golf if the 2009 Ryder Cup is to be secured.
While Wales have already pledged to invest £500,000
in a new Seniors event and £400,000 in a Ladies Tour championship,
my information is that Scotland will shortly reveal its hand for 2001 with an
impressive investment package across a range of mens, womens and
seniors professional tournaments. more
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