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Executive boost for Ryder bid
Steve Bargeton, Political Editor, The Courier, 8 February
Scotland's bid to host the 2009 Ryder Cup was given a
£750,000 boost by the Scottish Executive yesterday.
First Minister Henry McLeish announced that the cash-half
of which is coming from the Bank of Scotland-will be used to support three
top-level tournaments in Scotland this year.
It is estimated that the Ryder Cup would pump a minimum of
£67 million into the Scottish economy.
A decision on where the 2009 Europe versus United States
tournament will be held is expected at the end of this month, although there
has been speculation that the announcement may be delayed for a couple of
Ministers have placed enormous emphasis on promoting golf
and the benefits of golf tourism.
The Executive has pledged that by 2009 every child in
Scotland will have been introduced to the game by the age of nine. Last October
the Scottish Executive committed £14 million to the development and
promotion of golf over the next decade, pledging a further £10 million
over that period if the Ryder Cup bid is successful.
At a Press conference in Edinburgh yesterday Mr McLeish
spoke of his personal commitment to securing the Ryder Cup.
"The Ryder Cup matters a great deal to this administration
and to me personally," he said.
"Our bid for the Ryder Cup is an example of how we can
build a more confident country that can compete on the world stage, a country
that shows the ambition to bid for one of the worlds biggest sporting
"We are under no illusions just how significant it would be
for us to host the worlds third biggest sporting event.
"We are setting our sights high, we have a great history in
Scotland of staging major golfing events, we have a great history of competing
with some success in those events, but not since the early 70s however have we
played host to the Ryder Cup."
The £750,000 cash injection announced yesterday will
ensure that the Executive maintain a high profile at three prestige events this
year-the Scottish PGA Championships at Gleneagles in August, the Scottish Open
at Loch Lomond in July and the Scottish Seniors Open at the end of August, the
location of which is yet to be announced.
The Scottish Tourist Board has confirmed an investment in
the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship to be played
at St Andrews, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns in October.
Leading Scottish golfer Colin Montgomery, one of the
Scottish players supporting the bid said, "The announcement of funding for
these events coupled with those events which Scotland already hosts will give
us a magnificent series of tournaments across the country.
"It is good that we are supporting European Tour events and
seniors golf, all of which will have received a major boost with the provision
of this funding."
Explaining the Bank of Scotlands decision to support
golf development in Scotland and the Ryder Cup bid the groups chief
executive, Peter Burt, said, "Tourism is of major importance to Scotland and
golf is a major underpinning of the tourism industry, which is by some measure
the largest creator of employment in Scotland.
"The underlying importance of this bid is hard to
underestimate. The potential spin-off to Scotland and the Scottish economy is
Initial economic impact studies predict that a Ryder Cup in
Scotland in 2009 would generate a minimum additional spend in the Scottish
economy of £67 million.
The estimated economic impact of the 1997 Ryder Cup in
Valderrama was £56 million.
The projected figure for the Ryder Cup in 2005 in Ireland
is approximately £100m of additional tourist income.
Some 438 million people watched over 288 hours of global TV
coverage of the Valderrama match.
Golf tourism is worth an estimated £100m per annum to
the Scottish economy. more Ryder Cup
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