Transcript: 2018 Ryder Cup announcement
On Tuesday, May 17, at the Wentworth Club in Surrey, England, George O'Grady -- Chief Executive of The European Tour -- announced that France won the bid to host the 2018 Ryder Cup. Below is the complete transcript of the announcement.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Good afternoon everyone and welcome to the magnificent ballroom at Wentworth Club for this historic Ryder Cup announcement.
Before we begin, I would like to offer a warm welcome to a number of people: To all five bid nations and their delegates here in the audience; to The Ryder Cup and European Tour Officials in attendance and to all of the media who have come from far and wide.
This has been an inspiring and challenging journey and we are delighted you are all here with us at its conclusion.
It's my pleasure to introduce our top table, starting on my far left: Sandy Jones, Chief Executive of the PGA of Great Britain and Ireland and Chairman of the PGAs of Europe; on Sandy's right is Neil Coles, Chairman of the PGA European Tour; next to Neil, we have George O'Grady, Chief Executive of The European Tour and on my immediate left is Richard Hills, Ryder Cup Director.
Should anyone remain in any doubt as to what The Ryder Cup means to so many people the world over, please sit back and enjoy this short video clip.
(VIDEO COMMENCED, AS FOLLOWS:)
SAM TORRANCE: The Ryder Cup, it's the greatest team tournament. Like the Olympic Games and football's world Cup, it sits high in the hierarchy of sporting events. It represents a pinnacle of achievement and commands a huge global following. The prize of hosting golf's July in the crown is sought by many and realised by only a few. The road to announcing the host nation of the 2018 match has been a long one.
ANDROULLA VASSILIOU: Good afternoon. This is the only major sporting event in which Europe plays together as a team, and I think the nations of Europe can be very proud of the achievements of the European Ryder Cup Team over the past 30 years.
I'm very sorry that I cannot be with you in person at Wentworth today, but I would like to take this opportunity to send my best wishes to the five European countries bidding to host the 2018 Ryder Cup.
I'm sure that whoever wins will stage a magnificent event. Good luck to you all and to the continuing success of The Ryder Cup.
RICHARD HILLS: For the successful nation today, it will mean a place in golfing and sporting history.
JONATHAN ORR: The Ryder Cup warranted a detailed and comprehensive bid program says that reflects its state as major sporting events.
EDWARD KITSON: I'm sure whichever nation wins The Ryder Cup bid, they will savour and cherish this day.
DAVID MacLAREN: Each country came into this process with great hope, great expectation and great determination.
RICHARD HILLS: The energy and professionalism shown from day one is outstanding.
From the outset, we wanted to achieve an atmosphere of fairness and professionalism.
DAVID MacLAREN: We began the formal process in October 2008 by sending out a bid briefing document to all those countries interested in hosting the 2018 Ryder Cup.
RICHARD HILLS: We even named the process, Operation: Level Playing Field.
DAVID MacLAREN: A year later, we had six countries, all vying for the ultimate honour. Our task was to explain to all bidding nations the criteria that would be used in determining who would be the ultimate host of the 2008 teen Ryder Cup.
The London Symposium which we held for all six bidding nations really marked a watershed in this process.
The first criteria is the provision of a world class golf facility; secondly, the infrastructure required for the delivery of a world class sporting event; thirdly, the unqualified support of the public, the private and the golfing sector; the fourth criteria revolves around commercial opportunities presented to Ryder Cup Europe from the successful bid; lastly, the contribution of the bid nation to the development of the game within that country, including areas such as legacy, player participation in previous Ryder Cups, tournament portfolio and golf tourism.
In Spring 2010, The Ryder Cup bid evaluation committee embarked on a tour of all bid nations to assess how each bid was progressing. Unfortunately at this stage, the list of bidding nations had dropped from six to five with the withdrawal of Sweden.
The first port of call was France.
RICHARD HILLS: We were deeply impressed by the powerful and iconic imagery of Paris and Versailles; a classic approach to delivering a memorable Ryder Cup.
Over the years, we have been impressed with how Le Golf National has evolved.
DAVID MacLAREN: One of the bedrocks of the French bid has been the unqualified support of French golfers who have voted unanimously to pay an annual levy over ten years in support of the French Ryder Cup.
CHRISTOPHE MUNIESA: We think this could be a great opportunity for golfers, but not only for golfers, because by competing to hold The Ryder Cup, we think that we can break golf well beyond the regular borders.
RICHARD HILLS: We had now sampled the quality of a bidding nation, the benchmark had been set very high.
DAVID MacLAREN: Two days later, the panel arrived in Rotterdam, from iconic France to visionary Holland. It's a Colin Montgomerie designed course aptly named 'The Dutch' as the centerpiece.
EDWARD KITSON: Centrally located between Amsterdam and Rotterdam, the transport links to the site are very good.
DAVID MacLAREN: Holland is a country that perhaps because of its size has significant multinational presence, and one of the great things about the Dutch bid is they have managed to harness that into their bid.
JEROEN STEVENS: We are a small country and we have 350,000 golfers. I don't think people would think of us as the favourite, so maybe we are even a bit of the underdog, but there are going to be very creative bids I think, and I think we will be one of them.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: One day they will be coming down the 18th hole trying to cross some water on a course that I've designed. I think it's a dream.
DAVID MacLAREN: After Holland we visited Portugal and what is characteristic of the Portuguese bid is a very high level of government support.
The site of the proposed Portuguese bid is Comporta, which is a stunningly beautiful natural site south of Liston.
EDWARD KITSON: The residential properties that will be around the golf course will also assist in support of all of the required infrastructure to stage The Ryder Cup.
RICHARD HILLS: The legacy of Portugal's bid lies in the development of a generation of new golfers.
MIGUEL FRANCO de SOUSA: Excellence in design, environmental practises service as innovation will be the hallmarks of Comporta. Portugal is a well known touristic destination for golfers. But we want golf to become a popular game in Portugal and I think The Ryder Cup will serve this purpose very, very well.
RICHARD HILLS: With the German bid, we could not ignore the game of Bernhard Langer. He has been synonymous with the growth of the professional game and the bid is coming from the economic powerhouse of the European economic community.
EDWARD KITSON: Ample space around the site will enable to us create a superb golf course with all of the necessary infrastructure.
DAVID MacLAREN: The German bid really is anchored in the economic strength of behalf area, the local support for the bid and the strong golfing demographic that exists in that country.
ERWIN LANGER: The German public is really enthusiastic about what we are doing, what we are trying to get into Germany, which is absolutely essentially for our maybe successful bidding.
DAVID MacLAREN: What is clear is that golf in Germany supports our Ryder Cup bid.
RICHARD HILLS: Our final destination was Madrid. The Ryder Cup bid has embraced all of the infrastructure which has been invested in so wisely by the fathers of the City of Madrid.
The beauty of their bid was the location, just 20 minutes from the capital to a wonderful site that is close to the city's international airport.
EDWARD KITSON: When the Ryder Cup arrives in the country, you have to consider transport, accommodation, and a catchment area from which the fans will arrive. Madrid ticked all the right boxes.
RICHARD HILLS: The history of Spain's contribution to previous Ryder Cups could not be ignored.
GONZAGA ESCAURIAZA: Our bid, thanks to the support of the government is going nicely, and Madrid was in the bid for the Olympics, so for some of us, the boxes we must tick are already done.
DAVID MacLAREN: What is crystal clear is that governments have bought into all five bids, the private sector has bought into all five bids and the golfers of each country have bought into each bid.
RICHARD HILLS: With our journey now at an end, it was time to help the nations refine their bids.
JONATHAN ORR: We undertook a very rigorous process of taking the bids and converting them into formal contracts.
MICHAEL PAYNE: Over the past two years with my fellow external advisors, Jaime Byron from FIFA and Nick Bitel from Sport England and the London Marathon, we have witnessed what clearly is one of the most diligent, analytical processes looking at where to take The Ryder Cup in the future.
DAVID MacLAREN: The independent advice that we received from our external advisors has been incredibly helpful.
RICHARD HILLS: All of the stakeholders of Ryder Cup Europe have been briefed on the findings of the panel.
JONATHAN ORR: In February, we received all five completed host nation agreements, one of which will be activated after the announcement today.
EDWARD KITSON: I believe that each nation could successfully host and stage The Ryder Cup.
DAVID MacLAREN: The decision was ultimately ratified after consultation with the Board of The European Tour and our fellow stakeholders, the PGA of Great Britain and the PGAs of Europe.
RICHARD HILLS: George O'Grady has consequently been empowered to make his recommendation for the host nation for The Ryder Cup 2018.
DAVID MacLAREN: We recognise that four countries are going to be enormously disappointed today.
What we hope is that each of those four countries will feel the pride that we feel in the quality of the bids that they have put together, and the knowledge that each of them would be able to host a successful Ryder Cup.
RICHARD HILLS: From the outset it was our aim to conduct the most thorough bid evaluation process we had ever set out on.
MICHAEL PAYNE: On behalf of the my advisors today, the decision that is taken is unquestionably the right one for the future of The Ryder Cup.
RICHARD HILLS: It's been a long journey for all of the bidding countries. The quality of each bid is remarkable.'
SAM TORRANCE: So there you are, five nations, five outstanding bids. But there lasts only one winner.
Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Mr. George O'Grady, the Chief Executive of The European Tour to announce the host nation for the 2018 Ryder Cup.
GEORGE O'GRADY: Thank you, Sam.
I would like to thank all of the delegates from the five bidding nations, the media and all of the additional guests here today for joining us at Wentworth. On behalf of Ryder Cup Europe, you are most welcome.
There's only ten days since the great Severiano Ballesteros passed away and only six days since his funeral. We make this announcement today in the full recognition of his immense leadership and contribution to The Ryder Cup, but also, to golf throughout Europe and the world.
The quality of all five bids makes me personally feel very humble. Our regret is that we only have one home match every four years. I readily subscribe, as I suspect all in this room do, to the words of Nelson Mandela who stated that "Sport," in our case, golf, "has the power to inspire and to change lives.
Already, using The Ryder Cup, we have seen the Welsh Assembly under two successive First Ministers establish The Ryder Cup in the national curriculum in all Welsh schools. When I was a boy, you didn't study sporting events like this and see what a life force it was and what an inspiration it was to run your life in a certain way.
Now in Scotland, an already established golfing country, before the Ryder Cup even takes place in 2014, schoolchildren are being introduced to golf in the schools. In 2010 alone, 70 per cent of all schoolchildren, 49 per cent who are girls, will have taken part in their club golf programme, and this will happen every year up to a match, which has not taken place yet.
The Golf Federations represented here today have been some The European Tour's longest and strongest partners in our history and in our growth. The vision, the commitment and the drive of, in particular, the Spanish and French Federations, has seen golf readmitted to the Olympic Games in 2016, with all of the attendant benefits that will now be seen for golf and the youth of the world throughout the world in the future.
Throughout this bidding process, we have been so impressed by the unification of the amateur federations with the PGAs of their country, their governments, and their leaders in the private sector. It is no wonder that European golf is in such a healthy state today.
If you think, also, today from a vibrant golfing country, not even represented here at Wentworth, Italy, Matteo Manassero, inspired to play golf by his idol, Severiano Ballesteros has won two events on The European Tour before he's 18, and before the great Seve won his first.
As we have seen on the video, Ryder Cup Europe have laid down very clear criteria to establish a lasting legacy and benefit to each nation. All the bids have been superbly and individually assembled under very strict guidelines.
We can only award the honour and the responsibility of staging the match to one country. And our decision is taken by a clear, but a narrow margin.
The honour goes to the country boasting the oldest National Open staged every year outside the war year since 1906, and with outstanding commitment throughout the country of every golfer, it goes to France.
Now to give you a couple of more details, I would like to introduce my colleague, our Ryder Cup Director, Mr. Richard Hills.
RICHARD HILLS: Thank you, George. Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you all for being with us here today at Wentworth.
It is a matter of fact we have received five outstanding bids. Each of the countries matched or exceeded our key requirements, and any one of those five could have successfully hosted the 2018 Ryder Cup.
The winning bid from France stands out are for a number of reasons. The venue for the 2018 Ryder Cup, Le Golf National, is a truly outstanding golf course providing excellent spectator viewing and the promise of spectacular climaxes to the Matches. The transport to logistical to infrastructure plans are also of the highest quality. The French bid has its roots in the very heart of French golf. The tangible support of the overwhelming majority of French golfers, together with significant government support provides a strong foundation for a Ryder Cup which will embrace the whole of France.
The key commitment to the French bid is the plan to build 100 urban golf courses designed to introduce new French players to the game. The strong legacy elements within the French bid will ensure that the Ryder Cup can act as a catalyst for introducing a new generation of players to the game.
There is no doubt that the status of The Ryder Cup will be hugely enhanced by the spectacular backdrop of Paris and Versailles. There is no doubt that the 2018 Ryder Cup will be a memorable and dramatic one in which tens of thousands of golf fans will be able to enjoy.
In congratulating France for a truly world class bid, I would again salute all five bidders and thank them for their commitment and professionalism. Thank you.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Now that we know that France will host the 2018 Ryder Cup, many congratulations to them, and their delegates here with us in the auditorium.
So that the press conference can begin straightaway, I would now like to invite Chantal Jouanno, who is the Minister For Sport and Pascal Grizot, the Chairman of the French Ryder Cup bid to come and join the platform party, thank you.
Pascal, perhaps you can just put into your own words what it means that France will be hosting the 2018 Ryder Cup.
PASCAL GRIZOT: Thank you. I had this paper in my pocket but I can't tell you, I didn't know the decision.
The decision from the Ryder Cup Committee to select France to host the 2018 Ryder Cup is a real honour, and for our country, for the French Golf Federation and for all private and public partners who have supported our bid.
Above all, it is a huge accolade for all the French golfers who have as one contributed to this project. And we are particularly proud of this collective support we have had on this journey.
We are very conscious that this bidding process was for Continental Europe, and in our success, we are keen to ensure that we can work alongside The Ryder Cup executives and with all of our fellow European nations to deliver a truly world class event.
I would also like to express gratitude to all those European golfing champions, both and present, who have contributed to make The Ryder Cup the spectacular events it is.
In this respect, we all remember Severiano Ballesteros, as an icon in our sport, and someone who epitomised the spirit of The Ryder Cup. He is in our thoughts on this day.
The French bid has been compiled through the effort and creativity of a lot of people that I would like to thank today: The members of the board and personnel of the French Golf Federation who have devoted their energy, and trust me, as the spokesperson of our project, I am thinking particularly of president Georges Barbaret.
I truly believe that the success of the French bid is a success for all of Continental Europe. I would like to recognise a huge amount of effort that all of the other bids have contributed. We fully intend, The Ryder Cup France to be a celebration of Continental European golf and look forward to discussing this with our friends in the golfing community to make it happen.
I would like at this stage to also pay tribute to The Ryder Cup executive who put a massive amount of work in this bidding process, and we look to working with you and the committee in the years ahead to create a truly memorable and spectacular event that we can all be proud of.
France, now designated as the host of the 2018 Ryder Cup, is conscious of its responsibilities, and realise the honour that it represents. This choice is a great way for the sport that we love to grow in our country. We intend the legacy for The Ryder Cup in France to be both profound and beneficial for all.
It will also allow us to strengthen our relationships with the golfing world as a whole. There are some wonderful courses in France and we look forward to welcoming to you them.
Thank you for this honour, and we cannot wait to see you all in France for what I know will be a wonderful event.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Thank you very much, Pascal. We are now ready to open up the floor to a general question and answer sessions.
Q. The Seve factor was obviously very strong in Spain's favour. How much do you think this is a missed opportunity to honour his memory?
GEORGE O'GRADY: I don't think it's a missed opportunity at all in the sense that we have been aware of the legacy of Severiano Ballesteros right from the beginning of this bidding process.
Everything that we do is as a European Tour is to honour him. I don't think this is the last Ryder Cup that will be played in most of our lifetimes. It's just at the moment, the French bid was outstanding on the guidelines we laid down.
There will be other announcements about Seve coming in the next few months, which will seek to do that.
We feel for him. We feel for what he stood for. But we've been aware of that; we've been aware of his terrible illness for quite some time, and we were aware of it at the beginning.
Q. You've got four losers, you've got four very good losers, how do you intend to sweeten the bitter pill of defeat?
GEORGE O'GRADY: I think in every one of the bids that's come through, each country has received benefits in the process. We are in discussions, I think our team are going to visit all of the countries I don't think anybody's actually lost here. One specifically country has specifically won.
We put the attributes of those countries on the map. We will bring other golfing benefits to them as we see fit. We are looking at other tournaments that can be moved around and generally will work for them.
We regard even the countries that have not got The Ryder Cup today, as our strong, strong partners.
Q. Were you not tempted to award, also, the 2022 venue, as well?
GEORGE O'GRADY: We were tempted, but legally, once we had actually stated that we were going to just announce one, Sweden withdrew their bid at one stage, because the conditions were not right in the country at that time, knowing they might be for 2022.
If we could, as I opened my remarks earlier, to have one home Ryder Cup every four years is unfair, when you think how we use The Ryder Cup, not just for commercial gains, but to grow the game in each country and across the world, I think that's the single biggest thing that we wished we could have done.
Q. This has grown into such a huge event now, we have a huge bidding process, as well what, do you think Samuel Ryder would have made of all this?
GEORGE O'GRADY: I think Samuel Ryder, if he were to see what benefit which The Ryder Cup has brought to you countries; I went through some of the figures in Wales, some of the figures in Scotland we have done; Wales has been placed on the golfing tourism map. Many different companies moved to South Wales to reestablish their business.
This is growing the game, in the same way as the Olympics will be doing throughout the world. I think if he was looking down, he would top his cap and he would say, 'I think it's in safe hands.'
SCOTT CROCKETT: If we don't have any other questions, we have now reached the end of today's official press conference. All that's left for me to do is thank everyone for their attendance today, commend all five bid nations once again for the quality and the professionalism of their bids, and of course, congratulate France on winning the honour of staging the 2018 Ryder Cup.
Ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon.