Gleneagles is firmly on course for 2014 as Dormy House's £3m make-over completed

BEHIND the new porte cochere, the Dormy House at Gleneagles has been transformed, with a £3 million refurbishment creating a modern facility that, amongst other things, will accommodate the two team rooms for the 2014 Ryder Cup at the Perthshire resort.

Fittingly the work, which takes the amount spent on an on-going development programme that was started in 2007 to more than 20 million, has also included the creation of a new room named after Abe Mitchell, the first player-captain of the Great Britain team in the 1921 match at Gleneagles that was the Ryder Cup's forerunner. He is the figure who appears at the top of the famous golden trophy.

"It's much better - they've done a great job," observed Colin Montgomerie at yesterday's official reopening.

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Last year's winning captain in Wales is a regular at Gleneagles these days, both to practise and for family get-togethers, due to the fact he now lives in nearby Dunning. "As a former Ryder Cup captain, I know exactly what facilities are required," he continued.

"Everything is being done here for three years' time and this newly-refurbished Dormy Clubhouse offers everything a player at any level could need, including magnificent views.

"The Ryder Cup gets bigger and better every time. I thought the Welsh did a great job - it was an outstanding event. In 2014, it's Gleneagles and Scotland's time to better that and, as in keeping with the running of a five-star establishment, I'm sure they'll step up to the plate in a big way. Everything is in place."

Off the course, maybe. But, as Montgomerie, who has an added attachment to Gleneagles as chairman of the Johnnie Walker Championship, acknowledged, work has still to be carried out on the PGA Centenary Course, which will stage the first Ryder Cup to be held in Scotland since it was staged at Muirfield in 1973.

"I see (Ryder Cup match director] Edward Kitson here again today and he's the man who organises what has to go where and who does what. He was super with me in the planning of the Ryder Cup in Wales and I'm sure that whoever is in that position here it will be the same and it will be a great event," he added.

"There's a bit of tweaking to be done within the golf course and this winter is probably the last chance for anything that needs to be done. Then it will be a case of maintaining the course to the standards that are necessary for the Ryder Cup.

"It has taken a bit of flak over the years, but we are getting there. There was a six-year plan with the greens when Gleneagles was the successful bidder for the Ryder Cup in Scotland. We've got two years to go within that plan to get the course bang on - and it will be."

Jack Nicklaus, who designed the original layout, the Monarchs as it was known then, before it was revamped by David McLay-Kidd, is back on board and has already suggested a change to the controversial seventh green.Now many onlookers are watching to see if those "tweaks" involve the 18th, one of the weakest holes on the course, being changed by Nicklaus, too. Gleneagles won the right to stage the Ryder Cup ten years ago, when five Scottish courses lost out to Celtic Manor in the race to host the 2010 staging of the match.

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The strength of the Scottish bid - the other venues were Loch Lomond, Carnoustie, St Andrews and Turnberry - saw the Ryder Cup committee make a commitment there and then to take the event to Scotland for its next European staging, with Gleneagles given the nod just ahead of Loch Lomond.

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