Ryder Cup makes Gleneagles a new world attraction

The first tee at Gleneagles. Picture: Ian Rutherford
The first tee at Gleneagles. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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WHILE it may sound strange to say this about such a famous venue, Scotland’s first Ryder Cup in more than 40 years has put Gleneagles on the golfing map – in a global sense.

The Perthshire venue has long been renowned as one of Britain’s leading golf resorts, having hosted the BBC’s popular Pro Celebrity Golf series in the 1970s then the Bell’s Scottish Open.

Gleneagles’ King’s and Queen’s courses are revered and now, finally, the Jack Nicklaus-designed PGA Centenary Course may also be spoken about in favourable tones after it proved to be an excellent Ryder Cup course.

It provided drama aplenty over three days, during which there was not a squeak of complaint from any of the 24 players. In terms of spectator viewing, it was quite possibly one of the best we have seen, not just for an event that had 45,000 spectators attending each day but for any tournament ever staged in this country.

From fantastic vantage points – either in stands or on banks – all around the course, fans lapped up what is now regarded as one of the biggest events in sport, behind the Olympics and football’s World Cup.

What was a bonus, of course, was that Mother Nature smiled on Scotland, unlike Wales or Ireland, where the two previous stagings on this side of the Atlantic were hit by storms and heavy rain.

In Wales, the match spilled over to the Monday, a first for the biennial bout.

First-time visitors to Gleneagles, including almost every American journalist I spoke to, were blown away by its sheer beauty and vowed to return.

But it remains to be seen when the Ryder Cup will return to Scotland, as the event could be set for a tour around Europe over the next 20 years.