Letter: Golf must go back to its roots

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Golf must go back to its roots

Sir: From 1929 until 1981, The Professional Golfers' Association were glad to use traditional golf courses every four years to stage The Ryder Cup. The clubs involved, at considerable expense to themselves, provided all necessary facilities.

However, since 1984 the PGA have discovered that modern complexes, opened by corporate owners, are prepared to pay huge sums to stage golf's premier fixtures. Their "generosity" has nothing to do with the spirit of the game, but rather the colossal profits which the contest generates for years ahead. The high cost of playing golf at Valderrama and The Belfry illustrates the point.

When The Ryder Cup goes to Ireland for the first time in 2005, Portmarnock, which was founded in 1894, should be the automatic choice because it is recognised as one of the world's finest links and has been previously used for The Walker Cup, The Canada Cup and many more.

Sadly, the odds are the PGA will settle for The K Club, opened seven years ago and owned by Dr Michael Smurfit who, following the example of Valderrama's owner, Jamie Patino, is prepared to talk the language the organisers understand. Samuel Ryder would be very sad to see the way his brainchild has been exploited.

Peter Hughes,