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Page last updated at 13:28 GMT, Saturday, 20 September 2008 14:28 UK

Wales plans Ryder charm campaign

37th Ryder Cup - USA v Europe
Venue: Valhalla, Kentucky Date: 19-21 September Coverage: Daily highlights on BBC TV and BBC Sport website, Live on BBC Radio 5 Live and Sky Sports and updates/commentary on Red Button and BBC Sport website

By James Pontin
BBC Sport in Valhalla

Valhalla
The crowds have packed in to watch the drama at Valhalla

It's hard to see the golf when there are 15 people in front of you at Valhalla, you sometimes have to wait for the roar of the crowd to tell you if a shot or putt is good.

The mass crowds who swarm around this impressive course look to seek out any possible vantage point they can find.

One way the American fans are getting to see the action is through the lenses of a Celtic Manor 2010 periscope.

They are being given away at the Visit Wales stand, which is at the entrance to the course, and is just one example of how Wales is trying to attract people over 'the pond' to a country which most Americans think is a town in England.

"What is that flag?" a gruff Texan said to his friend pointing to the flag of St Andrew, "Is that the flag of England?"

It's fair to say that the Americans aren't too hot on their geography. So how can Wales get the message across?

Ryder Cup Wales - the body set up the Welsh Assembly Government to ensure that the promises made when the Celtic Manor won the right to stage the Ryder Cup - have been on a charm offensive over the last few days.

Wales' First Minister Rhodri Morgan and Celtic Manor resort owner Sir Terry Matthews are in Valhalla
Wales' First Minister Rhodri Morgan and Celtic Manor resort owner Sir Terry Matthews are in Valhalla

They, along with bodies such as Visit Wales and International Business Wales, have been getting their name known in the States. But it's not easy.

Wales rugby legend Gareth Edwards is an ambassador for Ryder Cup Wales and knows how difficult it is to get the message across.

"Some Americans know where Wales is but, let's be honest, most of them think the world stops when you get to New York," Edwards said.

"But we are working diligently to get the message across and telling them that we aren't a town to the left of London.

"All of the people involved in putting Wales on the map are doing a great job and I'd like to think that by the end of the week our profile will have been significantly raised."

Having a Welsh golfer on show would have made the job a lot easier.

Ian Woosnam stars in a TV ad which is shown on the American networks.

Spanish fans make use of periscopes to view the Ryder Cup action
Fans make use of periscopes to view the Ryder Cup action

The 'Golf as it should be' motto and pictures of Royal St David's golf course in Harlech have been beamed out during the commercial breaks on the Golf Channel.

But is it enough? The Americans like a slick sound-bite and Bryn Terfel, the internationally-renowned Welsh operatic baritone who will be singing during the closing ceremony, summed things up in the manner the Americans love.

"I'm here soaking it all in up," Terfel said. "Embrace the fact that one of the biggest sporting events is coming to Wales in two years time. I can't wait, it's brilliant, and its going to be in Wales."



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