Scotland prepares to take up Ryder Cup baton
Alex Salmond, the First Minister of Scotland, arrived at The Celtic Manor Resort with play in full swing on Saturday to hear that preparations for the 2014 contest in Gleneagles are already well in hand.
Speaking on his visit to The Celtic Manor Resort, the First Minister commented;
“The first thing that strikes you is the atmosphere here, it’s extraordinary. The sheer size of the media centre alone, larger than the one at The Open, gives you a sense of the worldwide audience for this event.
“The NBC television coverage of The 2010 Ryder Cup will be the longest continuous broadcast of any event on a US TV network and that is great news for Wales, as well as a taste of the prize on offer to Scotland come 2014.”
Preparations for The 2014 Ryder Cup are well underway and Scotland is keen to capitalise on the impact of golf’s greatest team event coming back to the Home of Golf for the first time in 40 years. The First Minister added;
“We are fortunate that in Scotland we have experience of hosting major golf tournaments and a great deal of the infrastructure at Gleneagles is already in place, but we are mindful that we don’t know everything and we are always looking for things that work well that we can replicate in 2014.
“One Ryder Cup initiative that we are already very proud of is clubgolf, through which Scotland aims to put a club in the hand of every nine year old in the country. Our aim is to build the base of the pyramid in terms of young people taking up the game so that we can see the benefits later – including turning out Ryder Cup stars of the future.”
One man who has also been casting his eye over events at Celtic Manor is Scotland’s Ryder Cup Director, Robbie Clyde, as he prepares to take up the mantle when Gleneagles takes over from Celtic Manor as the next European venue to host the event. Team Scotland’s delegation to Wales in 2010 included representatives from the local Police and Fire services, as well as experts in transport and logistics, trading standards and marketing, all looking to learn as much as possible from the experience in Wales.
“Transport and logistics is always a key challenge at any major event and it has been good to see how things are working this week on that front,” said Clyde. “Elsewhere, our focus has been on observing all the different staging elements and assessing their relevance to the event when it comes to Gleneagles in 2014.
“We already have a great working relationship with Ryder Cup Europe but we know that the intensity of the build up will increase from this point. We are also gearing up to really push home to golfers around the world the message that the game’s greatest spectacle is coming back to the Home of Golf.”
Ahead of the visit of the First Minister, members of VisitScotland have spent the last three days speaking to golf fans at their stand in The Ryder Cup’s Tented Village. In front of the spectacular backdrop of the PGA Centenary Course at Glenagles, stand manager Mark Murray, said that he has enjoyed the experience of the 2010 Ryder Cup;
“This has already been the best event that we’ve attended in terms of getting out the message to golfing consumers about Scotland and what we have to offer. The stand has been really busy and in the main we’re talking to astute golfers who know what they like.
“Everyone has been really taken by the whole experience of The Ryder Cup. They’ve been impressed with the infrastructure, the buzz and the atmosphere and, despite the rain on Friday, the majority feel privileged to be here.
“A little over half of our visitors didn’t know that Scotland was hosting the Ryder Cup in 2014 and of those that did, many weren’t aware that it was Gleneagles. In the week that Scotland takes over as the next European host country, being here has really given us the chance to raise awareness and get people excited about 2014.
“We’ve got to know the guys at Team Wales pretty well this week and there has been a real camaraderie. The hospitality and the welcome has been superb, from the whole of Wales, and this is something that we aim to emulate in Scotland.”
Speaking on the Team Wales experience, chief executive of Ryder Cup Wales Rob Holt said;
“The memories of the bid announcement are still very vivid – with the clear expectation of the work that lay ahead of us, as are the intervening Ryder Cups where Wales has taken a strong presence. Watching the officials in Kentucky, in 2008, hand over to Wales as the next Ryder Cup venue really brought home the fact that we were on the home straight and that, next time, it would be Wales’ turn.
“The various milestones reached on The Celtic Manor site are also particularly significant, including the completion of the magnificent Twenty Ten Clubhouse. But from the time the US team landed at Cardiff Airport it just hit home to everyone what a hugely significant event this was.
“We were acutely aware that if you invite the world into your house, you need to put on a good show and the feedback we’ve had on the Welcome to Wales Concert at the Millennium Stadium on Wednesday night and the Opening Ceremony has been fantastic. Everyone in Wales can be extremely proud of our first Ryder Cup.”
On the relationship with Team Scotland, Holt added;
“We fought hard to win the bid but from that time on we’ve been working with our partners in Scotland and have tried to ensure that all learnings from the initiatives we’ve introduced in Wales have been shared for the benefit of the event in 2014. The development of a set of curriculum materials to go into Welsh schools, using golf and The Ryder Cup as themes for learning is just one of them.”
“As we hand on the Ryder Cup baton to Scotland, we see this as the end of a chapter but the beginning of another as we look to build on this incredible experience and continue to realise the legacy of hosting the event.”