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Peter Corrigan: The land of song became the land of gurgle – and a laughing stock


If Sir Terry Matthews hadn't been such a skinflint, he would have built a roof over the 2010 Ryder Cup course and he and the rest of Wales would have been spared the mockery that engulfed us yesterday.

After the deluge came the derision. The land of song became the land of the gurgle and doesn't everyone enjoy telling us. You might expect the Americans to overplay the indignation. It is a long way to come to come to be caught in a flood.

But the English, the Irish and the Scottish I bumped umbrellas with joined in with an unforgivable relish. As if Wales were the only part of the UK where it rained yesterday. Nobody cares that it wasn't the fault of the Welsh that the Ryder Cup is being played over the first three days of October. Wales wanted it played a week earlier which is usually when it takes place.

But the Americans insisted on this week. Had it been played last week, there would have been more chance of sunstroke than pneumonia.

I had a tour of the place on Sunday and it was staggering how wonderfully the course had been prepared. The views of the distant hills were vividly clear. Sir Terry, the owner and driving force of the Celtic Manor complex, popped up everywhere, justly proud of the crowning glory approaching for his £125m development that was a tribute to him and a great advertisement for Wales.

His was a vision for which money has been no object, and although I was only joking about the roof, you wouldn't have put it past him.

Fate, of course, played a part in that if it wasn't for 9/11, the Ryder Cup would have been played last year when the corresponding week was perfect.

It is also worth mentioning that Wales's right to stage the Cup was gained narrowly in a battle with Scotland. Had the Scots won it, it would have been played at Gleneagles which was closed due to heavy rain.

The other galling fact is that Portugal, who are here in force lobbying to host the 2018 event, have been pouring Portuguese red down many throats as they can find. They were slyly reminding the imbibers: "The temperature in Lisbon today is 27C."

No opportunity to put the boot in has been missed, and it will probably go unmentioned that what play there was yesterday was completed in glorious sunshine. There's no justice.