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Golf News - 2009/2010 Ryder Cup Bid
McLeish orders officials to prepare contingency plans
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Scotland's on standby for Welsh Ryder Cup

Daily Record, 1 October 2001

First Minister Henry McLeish has ordered officials to prepare contingency plans to stage the Ryder Cup in 2010.

And he has made it known that Scotland could host the event at short notice - if the Welsh bid gets bogged down in legal actions and the venue is not ready in time.

McLeish said Scotland had a "surfeit" of championship courses and claimed: "We could stage the Ryder Cup next week, next month or next year if we had to."

The Celtic Manor course in south Wales needs a major facelift, including the rebuilding of nine holes, to bring it up to the standard required for the prestigious competition.

But the redevelopment of the venue - owned by Terry Matthews, the richest man in Wales - faces stiff opposition from environmentalists.

They have pledged to go to the courts both in the UK and in Europe in a battle that could last years.

Part of the plans will mean wiping out a colony of otters which have been thriving in the natural habitat of the River Usk.

There is also a threat to nearby Roman ruins.

The Celtic Manor extension would take in a special conservation area set up by the European Union, too.

And green campaigners fear new roads would have to be built to cope with the likely increase in traffic resulting from the revamped course.

An Executive spokesman said there was no reason to believe the Celtic Manor event would not go ahead.

But he said: "We are simply being prudent, making sure that, if we are called on, we will be ready.

"Let's not forget, Mexico staged the World Cup in 1986 at very short notice after Brazil pulled out."

The move comes only days after Scotland lost out to Wales in its bid for the lucrative competition, amid angry allegations of "dirty dealing" and claims that the selection process was rigged.

Scotland was given the consolation of staging the tournament in 2014.

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