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2009 Ryder Cup - Scottish bid
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Executive boost for Ryder bid

Steve Bargeton, Political Editor, The Courier, 8 February 2001

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 months.

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 world’s biggest sporting events.

"We are under no illusions just how significant it would be for us to host the world’s 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 Scotland’s decision to support golf development in Scotland and the Ryder Cup bid the group’s 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 huge."

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.

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