Following news that a decision about the venue for the 2009 Ryder Cup Matches will not be made until July at the earliest, Tony Lewis, Chairman of the Wales Ryder Cup 2009 Bid Committee has restated the arguments for holding the event at Celtic Manor. He said, “It is not what the Ryder Cup can do for Wales but what Wales can do for the Ryder Cup and the development of golf in our country. Wales’s bid for the 2009 Ryder Cup, linked to new professional tournaments and an all-Wales development programme for amateur golfers from the youngest ages, gives the PGA the opportunity to place a new, vibrant piece in their jigsaw of European golf.
“The Wales bid brings new money to golf and new tournaments. If Wales wins the bidding contest, The Wales Open will be consolidated as an annual event on the European Tour for the next 14 years. Additions to the professional tournaments in Wales will include a European Seniors’ event, a Ladies’ European Tour event, a PGA Mastercard event as well as a major biennial invitational tournament for the Seniors and a Junior Trophy. New money and fresh pastures for the promotion of golf, the pro game and the pastime, will be available. The PGA will have the opportunity of expanding its administrative and training capabilities in Wales, the country which has a long and commendable golf history but where the richness of the game has been largely undiscovered. The club professionals in Wales will be assured that their annual PGA National receives sponsorship.
“The development programme for golf in Wales is the main pillar of the bid document. It is intended that the PGA will have a seat at the development table along with the Sports Council for Wales and the Golfing Unions. The development strategy will be based on training programmes for golfers, green keepers and administrators, and it is hoped that new courses, driving ranges and a whole host of other golfing facilities will excite interest of all golfing enthusiasts in Wales and elsewhere.
“If Wales wins the Ryder Cup 2009 there is a huge potential for European funding. Wales, for the next 6-8 years, will benefit from special Objective One funds and the National Assembly will advance the claim of golf as they affect training, infrastructure and visitor-linked projects. Only Wales of the competing countries has access to Objective One funding and it should be seen as a massive help in developing the national strategy.
“The ambition of Wales is to transform the landscape of golf in the country and already the Welsh Golfing Union and the Sports Council for Wales have established a detailed programme which will include the merging of the ladies and men’s Unions.
“A location of real vision which will serve the Ryder Cup wonderfully well in 2009. The PGA have turned the bidding into a major commercial competition and the Celtic Manor is the only venue in Europe which has been purpose built and perfectly positioned for the great event. With an hotel of 800 rooms on site and dedicated exhibition and conference facilities, it will accommodate the golf trade and industry as well as the teams and officials themselves. The course will provide a superb test of golf as advice is taken and acted upon under professional supervision, and the natural hills at Celtic Manor provide unique, natural grandstands.
“The road, rail, air travel and sea port proximity are as near perfect as possible. The combination of an ambitious proprietor in Dr. Matthews and a National Assembly eager to attract big events to Wales should ensure that the Ryder Cup Committee does not face a single logistical problem at the Newport location.
“A successful Welsh bid would give the PGA recognition as serious propagators of the golfing gospel: that the Ryder Cup, however profitable, is not all about money. The Welsh jigsaw piece put in place would cement the PGA’s reputation for enlightened administration. We have been careful not to disparage Scotland’s bid or England’s, but we do believe that the PGA can achieve more for golf by voting for Wales than it can achieve by choosing our rivals who are wonderfully familiar with the premier events on great courses.”
Ryder Cup Wales Bid www.walesrydercup2009.org