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Page last updated at 15:48 GMT, Monday, 22 September 2008 16:48 UK

Celtic Manor 'to outdo Valhalla'

Valhalla
Matthews is confident of outdoing the Valhalla Ryder Cup experience

Celtic Manor owner Sir Terry Matthews has promised to "outdo" the 2008 Ryder Cup when Wales hosts it in 2010.

Matthews was at Louisville's Valhalla course to watch Europe's five-point defeat at the hands of the USA.

"We will outdo it," said the billionaire businessman, whose course is on the outskirts of Newport.

"We have a major advantage because the course, the clubhouse and the environment and the logistics are very much in our favour."

Matthews estimates he has spent around £22m in adapting the Wentwood Hills course, building nine completely new holes in the Usk Valley as well as a brand new clubhouse.

There could even be a Welsh captain, with successful 2006 skipper Ian Woosnam being one of the men tipped for the role in 2010.

This year's losing captain, Nick Faldo, may not have endeared himself to the Celtic Manor organisers when asked about the prospects for the Welsh Ryder Cup.

"Bring your waterproofs," said Faldo.

His advice may be prescient given that the event will be staged on 1-3 October and that bad weather disrupted this year's Wales Open which was staged in May.

But Matthews is confident that his course is set up to cope with inclement weather.

"What if it rains?" said Matthews. "We have the best drainage on the planet. This year at the Wales Open there was a monster downpour but as soon as the rain's gone it's clear.

"The drainage is really good. It's a challenge but Robert Trent Jones built a lot of golf courses for me and he used to say the three most important things about a golf course are drainage, drainage and drainage.

"We know the valley because we own it. Fog won't be a big issue, if there is fog it goes away very quickly.

"Wales will put on a good show, the government is getting behind it and I've certainly done my bit building the special facilities and so on."

Matthews believes that the real strength of his venue is in its logistical infrastructure.

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"The M4 and the A449 are right against the property and - even though we have the advantage of the road - you can't hear it.

"There are the new on-off ramps which allow you to come straight off the major highway into the property.

"Because the course was built from the get-go for the Ryder Cup, there are only three crossings on the fairways - at the K Club there were nine.

"The clubhouse is very long with a huge balcony overlooking the 18th green.

"The last three holes are on the side of the hill so we can accommodate 40-50,000 people there, that's good when you've only got four games on at a time.

"At the end of the day everybody leaves, the bus parks are right at the end of that long platform so getting people in and out is really good.

"We have another two Wales Opens before the Ryder Cup so it's like practice time.

"We've learned a lot and we will be ready, things are going pretty well for us, I'm feeling pretty good about it."



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see also
US secure emphatic Ryder Cup win
21 Sep 08 |  Golf
Westwood points finger at Azinger
22 Sep 08 |  Golf
Faldo proud of team despite loss
21 Sep 08 |  Golf
Jubilant Azinger praises US crowd
21 Sep 08 |  Golf
Wales plans Ryder charm campaign
20 Sep 08 |  Golf
Ryder Cup explained
16 Sep 08 |  Golf
Ryder Cup course comes alive
05 Jun 07 |  Golf
Golf on the BBC
01 Jul 11 |  Golf
BBC Sport Wales coverage
23 Mar 08 |  Wales


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