The effects of the 2014 Ryder Cup are already being felt in Scotland and the legacy will continue long after the last putt has been sunk, First Minister Alex Salmond said today as he marked a year-to-go until the greatest golf tournament in the world tees off at Gleneagles.
And young golfers of the future are foremost in benefiting thanks to funding from this golden legacy which will see almost half a million Primary Five school children take part in the hugely successful ClubGolf sports initiative by 2018.
The First Minister said:
“While there will be many immediate benefits from staging this magnificent sporting occasion, there will also be the long-term effects from this golden legacy which will ensure the popularity of golf continues to grow and young talent will be nurtured.
“The combination of staging the world’s best tournament and our initiative to put a club in the hand of every nine-year-old in Scotland can only mean continued success for the sport.”
The First Minister pointed out that areas such as golf development, professional sport, and tourism are also benefitting from the Ryder Cup, with plans well progressed to create a lasting legacy for golf in this country.
Mr Salmond outlined the increased investment in professional golf events in Scotland since Gleneagles was awarded the event, with £6.8 million in additional tournament spending supporting 49 professional events since 2003. That figure will reach 55 when the Ryder Cup begins, with legacy investment on professional golf to continue until 2018.
Recently the Scottish Government announced continuing support for the hugely successful Scottish Open which brings significant benefits to the whole of Scotland, both in terms of tourism and television exposure, while also providing a multi-million pound boost to the economy.
The unprecedented rush for tickets for the event, with applications for the Gleneagles tournament up 38 per cent on the number experienced by Celtic Manor, were “creating an incredible buzz in Scotland’s tourist industry with just a year to go”, he said.
“The excitement around the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles is building up a real head of steam as we enter the final 12 months before the tournament tees off, and I was absolutely thrilled to welcome Tom Watson and Paul McGinley to Scotland to help them celebrate this fantastic milestone aboard this wonderful train.
“The Ryder Cup is one of the top sporting events on the planet, and I am in no doubt that the 2014 tournament – being held at the Home of Golf for the first time in more than 40 years - will be a fabulous advert for the sport enjoyed by millions across the globe.
“But the Ryder Cup will be about more than the sporting action we will see during that week. Staging the event will bring a real and lasting legacy to Scotland, in terms of sport development, infrastructure, economic investment and tourism, with thousands of fans brought to Perthshire to see first-hand the beauty of our country and the warmth of our welcome.
"These benefits are already being felt, with the Ryder Cup legacy securing the funding of our hugely successful ClubGolf programme through to 2018, allowing thousands more to benefit from an initiative that has so far engaged nearly 300,000 young people.
“We have also increased investment in professional golf, with £6.8 million in legacy funding already having supported 49 professional events since 2003, helping Scotland build a world-class portfolio of tournaments in a move that can only help bring through the next generation of Scottish talent.
“And the recent rush for tickets, with demand up 38 per cent on that seen ahead of the 2010 event at Celtic Manor, is a real shot in the arm for Scottish tourism, with 250,000 spectators expected at Gleneagles during the week from around 75 countries.
“The event will also bring business opportunities for Scottish firms winning event contracts, as well as improvements to local infrastructure, such as the work being done at Gleneagles Station. Thousands of volunteers will get the opportunity to work at a major global event and a host of official charities, including some from the local area will benefit from fundraising events held in the run up to the event.
“This varied, exciting legacy will be felt throughout Scotland long after the winning putt is sunk and the famous trophy is held aloft by the victorious captain at Gleneagles next year.”
Notes to editors
Since 2003 the Scottish Government has committed £500,000 annually to ensure that all children in Scotland are introduced to golf by the time they reached 9 years of age. To date, nearly 300,000 schoolchildren have been introduced to golf through ClubGolf. As part of the host nation agreement, this funding has been secured until 2018.
Since 2003, 49 professional golf events have been supported by £6.8 million in Ryder Cup legacy funding in Scotland, and this figure will reach 55 by next September (including the Ryder Cup and Junior Ryder Cup). The Ryder Cup legacy investment will continue through to 2018, including support for the Scottish Open.
For the first time in Ryder Cup history procurement contracts are being advertised to all Scottish companies through Public Contracts Scotland, the public sector procurement portal.
Gleneagles station will play a crucial role in the transport plan for the event next year and it will be upgraded with a number of improvement works ahead of September 2014. Plans include a new link road to improve safety and access, increased car parking, of new lifts, new waiting rooms and toilet facilities.
The official Ryder Cup charities are Quarriers, Friends of St Margaret Hospital (a community hospital in Auchterarder), Perth & Kinross Disability Sport, and the McGinley Foundation, which in turn supports Amber, CLIC Sargent, The Society of St Vincent de Paul and the Tour Players Foundation.