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Nine years in the planning, 2010 Ryder Cup is days away

Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie and Europe's vice-captains
Colin Montgomerie and his vice-captains reveal the European team

SPORT WALES EXTRA
with BBC Wales golf correspondent James Pontin
Analysis and comment with BBC Wales' midweek online column

The 2010 Ryder Cup has been nine years in the planning, but now the action is just days away.

Wales is bracing itself for the glare of a worldwide audience it has never known before as an estimated two billion people around the world will be watching Newport between 1 and 3 October.

Corey Pavin and Colin Montgomerie
US captain Corey Pavin goes head to head with Europe's Colin Montgomerie

The flags are flying, the bunting is up and the M4 roadworks have disappeared (for now) as a 1,400 acre area of the Usk Valley will be beamed into approximately 62 million households in 195 countries for three days.

Wales has hosted FA Cup football finals, a Rugby World Cup and Heineken Cup finals and an Ashes Test cricket match, but these have been nothing like a Ryder Cup.

Golf's matchplay showpiece is third only to the football World Cup and Olympics as the most-watched sporting event on the planet, so Newport is to be the centre of the sporting universe for one weekend only.

And it is not surprising that the Celtic Manor's imaginatively named Twenty Ten course has been undergoing a golfing make-over akin to a Gok Wan special for the past five years.

Wales, Newport and the Celtic Manor have spent every one of the 3,290 days in between winning the 38th Ryder Cup bid and a ball being hit in anger to prepare for more than three days of golf - it is a chance for Wales to showcase itself to the world.

Since Wales won the bid in September 2001, moves have been afoot to strip down Wales' poor golfing image, infrastructure and appeal and rebuild it into a dynamic, attractive and popular golfing destination.

The 2010 Ryder Cup has been a catalyst in helping Wales live up to its marketing slogan of 'Golf as it Should Be' and now with the event about to tee off, all that work is coming to fruition - even if the disruption locally proves frustrating at times.

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Gok himself might even say Wales now looks good naked, but the 2010 course itself is anything but bare and basic.

The transformation from a tranquil 18 holes to a course fit for a Ryder Cup and ready to welcome Tiger Woods, Lee Westwood, Phil Mickelson and the world's finest golfers has been quite extraordinary.

Construction of the temporary city around the Celtic Manor began in July - and in the 10 weeks since some 15,000 seats have been installed as 20 grandstands are available to spectators.

Approximately 20km of rope and five thousand white stakes now caress the course, with approximately seven miles of crowd control barriers being used around the site.

About 300 buses will ferry 45,000 punters a day in and out, and once they arrive they will devour 20,000 portions of fish & chips, 5,000 bottles of bubbly, 132,000 pints of beer, 10,000 bottles of wine and 1500kg of Welsh cheeses.

The Celtic Manor Resort
The Celtic Manor was awarded 38th Ryder Cup host in September 2001

And if you're not one of the lucky ones to be there, then the next best place to watch the action is in your front room.

An estimated 80 live cameras - plus 22 hi-tech 3D cameras - will beam pictures into approximately 620 million households via 50 different broadcasters who will have 850 TV staff working on the event.

Meanwhile, some 1,000 accredited media will pore over every on-course move as 100 courtesy cars will ferry the players and VIPs around the manor while 320 golf buggies will be in operation as 7,000 staff will hope to stage an event fit for sporting and celebrity royalty.

But the most important statistics of all are low in the single figures.

Two teams playing for one thing - the Ryder Cup - and despite all the stats, figures, and numbers, that is the only thing that will count to captains Corey Pavin of America and his European counterpart Colin Montgomerie.

Remember to follow James and the rest of the Sport Wales golf team on Twitter



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see also
2010 Ryder Cup in numbers
22 Sep 10 |  Golf
Ryder Cup 'infrastructure legacy'
20 Sep 10 |  Wales
Woods named in US Ryder Cup team
07 Sep 10 |  Golf
US secure emphatic Ryder Cup win
21 Sep 08 |  Golf
Molinari earns European wildcard
29 Aug 10 |  Golf
Davies shadows Montgomerie in Cup
29 Aug 10 |  Golf
Wales warned of Ryder Cup one-off
01 Jun 10 |  Golf
'Mega' event plan after Ryder Cup
07 Apr 10 |  Wales
Welsh bid chiefs delighted
28 Sep 01 |  Golf
Twenty Ten course in photos
03 Jun 09 |  Golf
Ryder Cup coverage
22 Sep 10 |  Golf
Golf on the BBC
01 Jul 11 |  Golf


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