Blairgowrie welcomes Queen's Baton
The Queen’s Baton Relay paid a visit to Blairgowrie Golf Club today, just 80 days before the venue is set to host the historic 2014 Junior Ryder Cup in September.
The Perthshire club will provide the setting on 22 and 23 September as the best young players, boys and girls, from Europe and the United States go head to head in the prelude to The 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles – the first time the junior version has ever been played in the same host country when on European soil.
But today the focus was on the Queen’s Baton, which was making its way through Perthshire on its way to Glasgow to open the XX Commonwealth Games in just over two weeks’ time.
The occasion was marked by European Junior Ryder Cup Captain Stuart Wilson, from Forfar, who carried the baton to Blairgowrie where he was greeted by representatives of the club including club member and newly-crowned Amateur Champion Bradley Neil, who now has a great chance to be on Wilson’s European team in September.
Wilson, who was the last Scot to win The Amateur Championship in 2004 prior to Neil’s victory at Royal Portrush last month, said: “It is a real honour to be able to carry the Queen’s Baton to Blairgowrie Golf Club. The Junior Ryder Cup matches here in September will see some of the world’s best young golfers looking to perform on an international stage and I’m sure they will take inspiration from watching some of the athletes at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow later this month.”
Douglas Cleeton, Managing Secretary of Blairgowrie Club, added: “It is a proud moment for everyone connected with the club to welcome the Queen’s Baton to Blairgowrie and it is a terrific way to mark 80 days until the start of The Junior Ryder Cup.
“To have so many juniors at the club to welcome the baton here is terrific and shows just how warmly The Junior Ryder Cup will be received here in September. The whole area has embraced the event and we are looking forward to welcoming so many visitors and spectators to the course.”
Taking place just days before The Ryder Cup and only 30 miles from Gleneagles, thousands of spectators, including many junior golfers from the ClubGolf programme, are expected to attend The Junior Ryder Cup at Blairgowrie, making it the biggest in the event’s history.
Former players to have played in the event include Ryder Cup stars Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia, Nicolas Colsaerts as well as Solheim Cup player Suzann Pettersen.
One player who is hopeful of following in their footsteps is local youngster Neil, who added: “It would be a dream to play in The Junior Ryder Cup on my home course if I make the team and the number of people who turned out to welcome the Queen’s Baton here gives a taste of what we can expect during the event.
“We have a terrific junior programme at Blairgowrie and as a junior member here myself it is fantastic to see so many youngsters turning out to support the visit of the Queen’s Baton and to highlight the upcoming Junior Ryder Cup.”