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2009 Ryder Cup - 'revised' bidding procedure
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Verdict on 2009 delayed

Mike Aitken, The Scotsman, 14 February 2001

A decision on which country will host the 2009 Ryder Cup match, and which course, will be disclosed in September - probably in the week of the 34th match between Europe and the US at the Belfry.

It was always expected that the venue would be announced in the autumn prior to the next staging of the most popular match-play event in golf.

Confirmation of the successful country had been in line to be revealed around the end of this month, but the Ryder Cup committee, which met yesterday, wants more time to assess the merits of the bids made by Scotland, Wales and England.

It is thought that the bodies which organise the Ryder Cup in Europe - the PGA and the European Tour - held different ideas about when to make a choice between Scotland, Wales and England. The PGA was initially sympathetic to the wishes of the three bidders for a prompt decision; the Tour saw no reason to rush, and was anxious not to overshadow this year’s event, which will be contested from 28-30 September.

So much confusion has surrounded the bidding procedure, the one thing which can be said in favour of the delay is that it lets everyone know where they stand. "We welcome the clarification," a spokesperson for the Scottish bid said. "We believe we have an unrivalled selection of venues, and the Scottish Executive will continue to do everything possible to promote Scotland for 2009."

A delegation from the Ryder Cup board will inspect tournaments and courses at Slaley Hall, Celtic Manor, Loch Lomond and Gleneagles in summer. Since the other Scottish candidates - Turnberry, Carnoustie and St Andrews - are established Open venues, the board sees no need to check their infrastructures, and one would guess those links are outsiders. The latest development would also suggest that other Scottish courses, such as Kingsbarnes and Muirfield, which had indicated a wish to be considered for 2009, but were not part of the official bid, are no longer in the running.

Sandy Jones, chief executive of the PGA, said: "The board is deeply impressed by the high quality of all the bids. The board also wishes further time to consider the bids in more detail. The board believes it is in the best interests of all the candidates to discuss and refine the details of all the bids.

"Once this process has been completed, the board will make an announcement to the host country and venue at the same time. This is expected to be in September this year, perhaps during the week of the 34th match at the Belfry."

One participant who will be anxious to learn Scotland’s fate is Colin Montgomerie, who has revealed his desire to captain the European team in 2009. He will swing back into action at the Australian Masters tomorrow after meeting a sports psychologist in an effort to control his feelings after he leaves the golf course.

Having healed a rift in his marriage to Eimear during the winter months, Monty is determined to mend his ways, and consulted Hugh Mantle at Liverpool’s John Moores University. The psychologist suggested ways in which he can learn to switch off, and leave his feelings about golf on the course.

"Having survived a crisis in my marriage," Montgomerie observed, "I really shouldn’t find it that difficult to get over a 75 or a 74. A bad hole or a bad round is hardly the end of the world."

It will be interesting to see how this new-found sense of perspective holds up in the heat of battle, say, finishing with a double bogey at Augusta. But Scotland’s leading golfer insists he won’t take his problems home any longer.

"When am I going to win a major? All I can say is that I’m as determined as ever," he said. "When it comes to winning tournaments, having your personal life in order would seem to me to be a million times more important than having your swing in the right groove."

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