The Welsh campaign to host the Ryder Cup in 2009 has gained momentum with the appointment of a chairman and the addition of several key organisations to the official bid committee. Tony Lewis, the former international cricketer and chairman of the Wales Tourist Board, has been appointed to lead the drive to bring golf’s top team event to his home country for the first time.
Meanwhile, the Sports Council for Wales, the Welsh Golfing Union, the Welsh Ladies Golfing Union and Newport County Borough Council have joined the bid committee.
These developments follow the launch of the bid in June by the National Assembly for Wales, the Welsh Development Agency, the Wales Tourist Board and The Celtic Manor Resort, Wales’ official candidate venue.
“As a well known figure in Wales, the business world and the world of sport, Lewis’ credentials for the job are exceptional,” said Rhodri Morgan, the First Secretary for Wales. “The bid to host the Ryder Cup is very important to Wales and the benefits that come with success will be enormous. We know we have the capabilities and the credentials to stage a great tournament. Now, we’ve put an excellent team together to work to convince the Ryder Cup Committee of this.”
The new chairman is a keen golfer but admits his enthusiasm for the sport usually outstrips his ability. “My appointment is in no way related to my golfing skills,” said Lewis. “My role is to make sure everyone is consulted and involved and that we present the best possible case for Wales. We hosted the Rugby World Cup, welcomed golf’s European Tour back with a very successful inaugural Wales Open, and we will be staging football’s FA Cup for the next three years. Wales is becoming a natural choice for major sporting events because of its world class facilities, skills and infrastucture. The Ryder Cup has never been staged in Wales and we believe the time has come to show what we can do.”
The bid team is preparing a submission to the Ryder Cup Committee that will also emphasis the tremendous growth potential for golf development and tourism as well as the existing facilities and access. “One of our main aims is to open golf up to a much wider audience and encourage participation at all levels,” said Lewis. “The bid team will develop proposals for coaching and new facilities across Wales and ensure that the sport reaps long term benefits.”
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