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Brian Huggett with BBC Wales' Steffan Garrero
"My career has been built around the Ryder Cup"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 9 January, 2001, 18:45 GMT
Ryder Cup bid attacks golf elitism
The Wentwood Hills course at Celtic Manor
Celtic Manor golf course would host the event
The team behind Wales's bid for the Ryder Cup have said hosting the event would dramatically change the shape of Welsh golf and "sweep away sexism and élitism."

Former international cricketer Tony Lewis - who is spearheading the bid to get the prestigious tournament to Wales in 2009 - unveiled a vision of "golf for all"' at a press conference at Rhondda Golf Club.


Even when people are in a position to afford membership fees, they often feel intimidated by the élitist image of the game

Welsh Golfing Union's Andrew Morgan
Bids from England and Scotland are also being considered by the Professional Golfers Association.

The successful applicant will be revealed at the end of January or early in February.

The Welsh bid for the Ryder Cup is being led by the National Assembly for Wales.

It has formed a committee with representatives from many organisations including the Welsh Development Agency, the Wales Tourist Board, the Sports Council for Wales and The Celtic Manor Resort - the proposed tournament headquarters.

Committee chairman Tony Lewis said securing the Ryder Cup would have wide implications for sport in Wales.

Catalyst for change

"The bid goes far beyond a single tournament - huge though the Ryder Cup is," he said.

"The aim is to transform the golfing landscape in Wales, create new facilities and opportunities, and sweep away sexism and élitism completely.

"We will work towards these aims anyway, but a successful Ryder Cup bid would act as a catalyst, allowing the game to develop much more rapidly and opening up much greater opportunities for public and private sector funding."


It is exciting to think that in my lifetime Wales might hold the Ryder Cup

Former Ryder Cup captain Brian Huggett

Welsh Golfing Union Development Committee Chairman Andrew Morgan said the ladies' and men's unions were working towards forming a single golfing union.

"With the Ryder Cup as the catalyst for change, Wales would like to abolish existing divisions, restrictions and preconceptions surrounding the game of golf," he said.

"We want the golfers of Wales to be girls, boys, women, men - the game to be truly and equally accessible to everyone.

"Even when people are in a position to afford membership fees, they often feel intimidated by the élitist image of the game."

Telephone poll

Brian Huggett, a Welshman and Ryder Cup captain in 1977 gave the bid his enthusiastic support.

"It is exciting to think that in my lifetime Wales might hold the Ryder Cup," he said.

"As recently as three to four years ago you wouldn't have thought Wales could have a venue to host it.

"But to get it would be tremendous and it would spread through all levels, from junior through to senior," Huggett explained.

The bid has already received support from golfing enthusiasts.

In a telephone poll, Golf Weekly magazine claimed 96% of readers supported the Welsh bid.

England picked up two per cent, with Scotland and Sweden - which later pulled out of the bidding - getting just one per cent each.

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See also:

08 Jun 00 | Wales
Wales launches Ryder Cup bid
31 Oct 00 | Scotland
Blair attacked over Ryder backing
26 Oct 00 | Scotland
Scotland unveils Ryder Cup bid
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