Richard Hills (Ryder Cup Director), John Jermine (Ryder Cup Wales Chairman) and Jim McKenzie (Celtic Manor Resort Director of Golf Courses) gather on the first tee of the Twenty Ten course exactly 365 days before the 2010 Ryder Cup gets underway.
Montgomerie begins countdown to Celtic Manor
Europe's Ryder Cup Captain, Colin Montgomerie, checked today's date in his diary – October 1 – and couldn't resist letting his mind wander ahead 365 days from now. For on the very same morning next year, The 2010 Ryder Cup will get under way amid a frenzy of excitement at The Celtic Manor Resort in Wales.
No-one feels the sense of anticipation more than the 46 year old Scot, who will lead Europe against Corey Pavin's United States side at The Twenty Ten Course by declaring: “"he countdown is on."
Montgomerie, who played in eight Ryder Cups, is currently competing in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in his native Scotland, while at The Celtic Manor Resort, City of Newport, the notable date in the diary was being marked with an eagerly expectant ceremony on the first tee of The Twenty Ten Course.
He said: "This is a massive, massive deal for Wales and I am so honoured to be able to take a Team there and to captain them in the quest of regaining The Ryder Cup. We have a golden opportunity, so it is our responsibility to go down to Wales in a professional manner and win the Cup back.
"When Wales was successful with its bid to host The Ryder Cup it seemed such a long time away but now, here, it is only a year away which shows how amazingly quickly time goes by.
"I guarantee this next year will fly by, too, now that the qualifying process has begun and my Team is starting to gather points. I know it has only been a few weeks now but the qualification has begun and we now look forward to the whole Ryder Cup experience taking place.
"It will be great to see all the players fighting for automatic qualification over the next 12 months and those who don't make it, of course, will have to try and impress me in other ways, so it is exciting for me, exciting for The Celtic Manor Resort and exciting for Wales."
To mark the start of the 365 day countdown to the greatest team contest in golf, representatives from Ryder Cup Wales, The Celtic Manor Resort and their partners in this global event gathered at the purpose-built Twenty Ten Course at The Celtic Manor Resort, City of Newport, which provides Wales with an unrivalled opportunity to showcase itself on a global stage.
Standing on the first tee of The Twenty Ten Course, where Europe will launch their bid to regain The Ryder Cup from the United States, were Richard Hills, Europe's Ryder Cup Director; John Jermine, Chairman, Ryder Cup Wales; Dylan Matthews, Chief Executive, The Celtic Manor Resort; Jim McKenzie, Director of Golf Courses, The Celtic Manor Resort; Andrew Davies AM, Minister for Finance and Public Service Delivery and Cllr Matthew Evans, Leader of Newport City Council.
Of course, the atmosphere ahead of the first tee shot on Friday, October 1 next year will be palpably different from the calm and tranquillity of today's photo call, but the sense of excitement is growing in Wales, especially now that a nine-year wait to host The Ryder Cup is just 365 days away.
George O’Grady, Chief Executive of The European Tour, added: "It has been an inspiring journey to bring The Ryder Cup to Wales and we would like to congratulate Sir Terry Matthews on the realisation of his vision and the determination of the Rt Hon Rhodri Morgan and his colleagues for their outstanding achievements to date. We wish everyone well for the final 365 days."
Explaining the on-going work to stage the event, Ryder Cup Director, Richard Hills, said: "We continue to be extremely impressed by the huge commitment being made by everyone at The Celtic Manor Resort. Sir Terry's vision gave birth to a dream, and seeing that dream move towards reality is a joy for all involved. There is only one year to go now and we know that all of Wales will have good reason to feel very proud when The 2010 Ryder Cup begins on October 1 next year."
Meanwhile, the new £2 million twin-suspension bridge over the River Usk, the final major piece of construction for The 2010 Ryder Cup, is closer to linking The Twenty Ten Course to the purpose-built practice facility on the other side of the river.
The 120-metre long, 4.2-metre wide, cable stayed bridge is due to connect to both river banks this weekend with reinforcement works on course to be completed by the end of the year.