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Saturday, 20 July, 2002, 16:09 GMT 17:09 UK
Golf writers urged to pitch Scots case
Tiger Woods at The Open
Images of Scotland are being shown round the world
A Scottish Executive minister is attempting to woo golf-mad Americans to Scotland by pressing its case during The Open golf Championship.

Sport and tourism minister Mike Watson was due to spend the day meeting US journalists at Muirfield, East Lothian, on Saturday.

Speaking before his appointment he rejected claims that Scotland may not be the home of golf.

German sports historian, Dr Heiner Gillmeister, said he believed golf was probably first played in continental Europe.

Mike Watson
Mike Watson will meet US journalists

In a blow to Scots pride, the academic, on Friday, said he thought we may have the Belgians to thank for the game.

The claim, however, met with a lofty response from the Scottish Executive.

"The Scottish Executive is not aware of the report. We will look into it," said a spokeswoman.

The minister's meeting with US journalists takes place at the 131st Open Championship.

Mr Watson said: "Scotland boasts over 500 golf courses and offers an unparalleled diversity, from the world-famous trophy courses to our hidden gems.

"It is this that provides the enormous potential for growth in this market."

He added: "The golfing experience does not end at the 18th hole - by offering quality services, food and accommodation, and most of all the special qualities of Scottish hospitality, we can ensure Scotland is a must-visit destination for the world's golfers, their friends and families."

The minister said that with 130,000 visitors expected to attend The Open over its four days, the local economy would benefit.

"VisitScotland are working hard at the event to ensure that many of these visitors will return to Scotland in the future and I am here today to support their efforts," he said.

See also:

18 Jul 02 | Scotland
27 Dec 01 | Scotland
11 Jul 00 | Scotland
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