Wales pitches in for Ryder Cup

Catherine Zeta Jones will do a photocall. The Manic Street Preachers have been on the phone asking how they can help. Support for the Welsh bid to stage the 2009 Ryder Cup has been pouring in from all directions. Brian Huggett, the 1977 captain, and the rugby legends Gareth Edwards, Gareth Davies and Jonathan Davies are among those heavily involved. "I have never known a response like it," said Tony Lewis, the bid chairman. "The Rugby World Cup was great but everyone wants to be involved in this."

Catherine Zeta Jones will do a photocall. The Manic Street Preachers have been on the phone asking how they can help. Support for the Welsh bid to stage the 2009 Ryder Cup has been pouring in from all directions. Brian Huggett, the 1977 captain, and the rugby legends Gareth Edwards, Gareth Davies and Jonathan Davies are among those heavily involved. "I have never known a response like it," said Tony Lewis, the bid chairman. "The Rugby World Cup was great but everyone wants to be involved in this."

Lewis, the former England cricket captain and BBC commentator, has swapped an office overlooking Lord's - his two-year term as president of MCC has just finished - for another one beside one of the 54 holes at Celtic Manor. The resort is at the centre of the Welsh bid to stage the 2009 match, but Lewis's job is to convince the Ryder Cup Committee that the application is about more than one man's desire to host the event.

Terry Matthews made his money in Canada from electronics, but was born just outside Newport. He returned to buy a maternity home and enough land by the M4 to build a 400-room five-star hotel and three golf courses. The resort hosted the Wales Open in June and the event is guaranteed to be on the European Tour for five years at a cost of £10m, with another five years if Celtic Manor gets the Ryder Cup.

Wary of the image that someone can "buy" the Ryder Cup, the Professional Golfers' Association and the European Tour - joint guardians of the event - now insist on applications by country. Bids are due in by the end of the month with the winner announced next January.

Ireland, the hosts of the 2005 match, expect to double their golfing tourists in the next five years - then there is the value of the match itself. The economic benefit to Spain of the Valderrama match in 1997 was £52m. That figure is expected to reach £100m for Ireland in 2005.

Scotland is the clear front-runner with five quality venues vying for the match, in the Old Course at St Andrews, Carnoustie, Turnberry, Gleneagles and Loch Lomond. Muirfield, the 1973 venue, is also interested. The bid has formidable backing from the Scottish Executive, the Scottish Tourist Board and the Bank of Scotland.

Lewis said: "This really is a bid for Wales. Staging the Ryder Cup for the first time would bring enormous benefits." Rhodri Morgan, the First Secretary for Wales, signed the application and appointed Lewis, a former chairman of the Wales Tourist Board, to head the campaign. That has meant bringing together bodies such as the Sports Council for Wales, the Welsh Golf Union and the PGA Welsh Region.

This is a pioneering concept for the game in Britain. The men's and women's unions, currently housed separately at Celtic Manor, are considering merging so the game can benefit from European Union funding. "We can improve facilities for clubs and improve access by opening up starter centres and pitch-and-putt courses. Not many children under the age of 14 have access to the game but for those over 15, more people play golf in Wales than rugby," Lewis said.

There are plans to stage events on the women's, Seniors and MasterCard tours, and even an ambitious idea for Royal Porthcawl to stage the Open, so giving Wales and the west of England a first opportunity to be part of the oldest championship of all.

Technically, the bid has much to recommend it, with only one major drawback - the Wentworth Hills course itself. Opened less than two years ago, it will need further funding from Matthews to make it suitable for the match. Eight significant changes will be made following consultation with European Tour after the Wales Open. The main problem is in getting everyone back up a substantial hill towards the end of the course, especially with 36 holes a day, and the multitude of sidehill lies.

Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
TV
Arts and Entertainment
James Hewitt has firmly denied being Harry’s father
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Oliver
filmTV chef Jamie Oliver turned down role in The Hobbit
News
The official police photograph of Dustin Diamond taken after he was arrested in Wisconsin
peopleDownfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
tvReview: Top Gear team flee Patagonia as Christmas special reaches its climax in the style of Butch and Sundance
News
people
Sport
Ashley Barnes of Burnley scores their second goal
footballMan City vs Burnley match report
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca alongside Harrison Ford's Han Solo in 'Star Wars'
film
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Man of action: Christian Bale stars in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Life and Style
Apple showed no sign of losing its talent for product launches with the new, slightly larger iPhone 6 making headlines
techSecurity breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Arts and Entertainment
Catherine (Sarah Lancashire) in Happy Valley ((C) Red Productions/Ben Blackall)
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Clueless? Locked-door mysteries are the ultimate manifestation of the cerebral detective story
booksAs a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?