The owner of The Celtic Manor Resort in Wales, Sir Terence Matthews, has received substantial damages following a libel action against the Sunday Mail newspaper in Scotland. The settlement, which also includes legal costs, was announced in the High Court in London on 14th February.
Sir Terence took action against the paper after it published false allegations on 3rd June, 2001 about his plans to develop the resort’s Wentwood Hills course to suit the specific requirements of the Ryder Cup.
The course changes, which involve seven new holes on land in the Usk Valley, were linked to a Welsh bid to stage the prestigious matches between the USA and Europe. The changes were given planning permission on 27th June and Wales was announced as the host nation for the 2010 Ryder Cup on 28th September, with Celtic Manor as the venue.
The Sunday Mail allegations concerned Sir Terence’s attitude to conservation and archaeology. In a Statement in Open Court, the paper has accepted that the allegations were untrue. It has withdrawn and undertaken never to repeat them. It also apologised to Sir Terence and agreed to pay substantial damages and costs.
“My aim was to set the record straight and protect my reputation, and I am naturally very pleased with the outcome,” said Sir Terence. “I take pride in being a developer who values the environment and heritage of this wonderful part of Wales. The Usk valley will provide a great setting for the Ryder Cup in 2010, and I look forward to work starting on the course changes later this year.
“The period leading up to 2010 will see a major investment in golf in Wales, with new tournaments and new opportunities for everyone to take part in the sport. In line with the Welsh bid’s philosophy of’golf for all’, I intend to use the damages paid to help young people have greater access to coaching and competition. Who knows, this unfortunate episode could have the positive effect of helping Wales to discover the next Ian Woosnam!”
Celtic Manor Resort www.celtic-manor.com