Golf fans excited by the prospect of the forthcoming Ryder Cup at Gleneagles can whet their appetites by visiting a special exhibition at Perth Museum & Art Gallery highlighting its rich history.
The exhibition charts the iconic golf event from its earliest beginnings as a friendly match between British and American PGA professionals through to the impact made by the legendary Samuel Ryder, who donated the famous gold trophy.
Already successfully staged this year at Stirling and the Scottish Parliament, the collection of artefacts from past encounters was officially opened on Monday, 2nd June.
The Ryder Cup trophy itself was also present for the reception and Europe’s captain Paul McGinley will be hoping his team can ensure it stays this side of the Atlantic following their clash with Tom Watson’s United States team in September at the PGA Centenary Course.
The exhibition offers a fascinating insight into the event’s history featuring personal items from past players as well as rarely seen photographs while a series of specially created display cases and graphic story boards recount the history of the past 39 matches, covering its growth from a friendly competition to one of the biggest sporting events in the world.
PGA chief executive Sandy Jones and Ryder Cup director Richard Hills both attended the reception.
Jones commented: “As Gleneagles gets ever closer this exhibition is a reminder of how the Ryder Cup has risen from relatively humble beginnings back in the 1920s to become one of the world’s major sporting events.
“In the year that The Ryder Cup returns to Scotland we are delighted to have taken the exhibition to Stirling and the Scottish Parliament and now Perth and I hope golf fans take the opportunity to enjoy this special exhibition which has an array of fascinating memorabilia.”
Perth and Kinross Provost Liz Grant has hailed the exhibition as ‘must see’ for the local community, adding: “With the Ryder Cup already providing some fantastic events and opportunities across Perth and Kinross, I am proud to welcome yet another in the way of the Ryder Cup Heritage Exhibition.
“Based within Perth Museum & Art Gallery the Exhibition it will provide local residents with knowledge of Ryder Cups past and present and I for one urge all golf enthusiasts and non to go along and marvel in this unique event.”
David Wright, the PGA’s heritage curator, has painstakingly accumulated memorabilia over the past two decades, and believes the exhibition has a broad appeal.
“With the exhibition we are trying to reach out to the local community to show how the matches evolved and how the contest developed over the decades ahead of its return to Scotland at Gleneagles in September,” he said.
“We also hope local school children get involved as it will be an opportunity for them to come along and understand what the Ryder Cup means.”
The origins of the contest lie with St Albans seed merchant Samuel Ryder whose passion for golf was an integral part in the instigation of the Ryder Cup.
Having taken up the sport late in his life at aged 50, on the advice of his doctor, he quickly became hooked on the game at his local club Verulam Golf Club where he received regular lessons with head pro Abe Mitchell who went on to play in The Ryder Cup and is the little figure adorning the top of the trophy.
Having witnessed an early friendly match between Great Britain and America at Wentworth, Ryder became a prime mover in making it a regular affair and donated the striking gold cup that will again be the focus of attention when Europe defend it against America at Gleneagles.
The exhibition will be on show to the public in Perth from Tuesday 3 June until Friday 12 September 2014 from Tuesdays to Sundays, 10am-5pm. Admission free.
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