First Minister Rhodri Morgan will be joining leading sports officials tomorrow in outlining the potential of the Ryder Cup to transform the golfing landscape of Wales.
The centrepiece of the Welsh bid to stage the 2009 Ryder Cup is a bold and ambitious plan to develop golf at all levels on a non-sexist, non-elitist basis.
At a media conference at Rhondda Golf Club, Sports Council for Wales Chairman Gareth Davies and Andrew B Morgan, Welsh Golfing Union Development Committee Chairman will present the golf development case for staging the event in Wales for the first time. Tony Lewis will chair the proceedings on behalf of the bid committee.
The names will also be announced of five new professional golfers selected for the Sports Council for Wales’s unique programme to support golfers in the transition from amateur to professional competition. A number of players will be present at the conference.
Gareth Davies believes the success of the British team at the Olympic Games has underlined the case for investing in people and facilities at all levels in sport.
“Wales has a great golfing tradition, with more than 75,000 people now playing the game, but the country has lagged behind in terms of the number of courses and the staging of top golf tournaments,” he said. “This bid offers the leaders of golf an opportunity to put that right.”
Tony Lewis said: “If Wales is given the chance to stage the Ryder Cup for the first time in 2009, the direct benefits for the sport in terms of funding, facilities and a whole programme of tournaments will be massive. The Ryder Cup would act as a catalyst to turn our vision for the game rapidly into reality.
“The fact that First Minister Rhodri Morgan is personally involved reflects the significance that the National Assembly for Wales attaches to this bid, and the fact that the whole of the country is behind it.”
The Advisory Panel established to recommend which golfers are selected for support includes Wales’s current top professional Phil Price and former British Amateur Champion Philip Parkin, who now works as a TV commentator for Sky Sport.
As the only home countries sports council to support transitional professional golfers, the Sports Council for Wales has helped develop the talents of leading golfers such as Bradley Dredge and David Park.
The Sports Council for Wales www.sports-council-wales.co.uk