Ryder Cup baton passed on after historic Europe win

The eyes of the golfing world were once again focussed on Scotland as The Home of Golf was handed the baton of host nation of the Ryder Cup, following Europe’s stunning victory over the USA at Medinah, Chicago.

The honour was officially passed over at the closing ceremony of the 2012 event at Medinah, Chicago as First Minister Alex Salmond accepted the ceremonial Silver Putter on behalf of Gleneagles as the host venue and Scotland as the host country.

Dr Mike Cantlay, Chairman of VisitScotland, praised the winning European team, saying: ‘I would like to extend our congratulations to the European team for what was a Herculean effort to overturn a four-point deficit going into Sunday’s singles matches.

‘Their pride, passion and respect epitomises the game first played in Scotland, the Home of Golf, some 600 years ago and their victory sets up a magnificent match at Gleneagles in two years time.

‘I would also like to congratulate our friends at Medinah Country Club and the PGA of America for staging an event that will live long in the memory. We will have to go some way to match it at Gleneagles, but we are confident of doing so and look forward to welcoming the world to Scotland in 2014.’

The ceremony, watched in an estimated 500 million homes in 183 countries worldwide, featured a distinctly Scottish flavour to mark the return of the event to Scotland for the first time in more than 40 years.

A video titled Scotland’s Getting Ready was shown which featured real Scots playing golf in various Scottish landmarks – such as teeing off from Glencoe, chipping into whisky barrels in a distillery and children honing their skills on the hallowed turf of St Andrews.

The huge audience was then treated to a live and unique rendition of Scottish music by classical violinist Nicola Benedetti and Gaelic singer Julie Fowlis, the lead vocalist in the hit, Disney•Pixar’s Brave.

Benedetti performed a brand new collaboration of traditional Gaelic material before a rousing speech by the First Minister who welcomed the world to Scotland in 2014.

The 2014 Ryder Cup itself will bring an estimated boost of £100m to the Scottish economy in the week of the event alone. But additional legacy benefits such as increased tourism, greater participation in golf and more investment in golf events were central to the bidding process for The 2014 Ryder Cup.

An enhanced golf marketing campaign by VisitScotland in the two years prior to The 2014 Ryder Cup will look to reinvigorate Scotland’s reputation as The Home of Golf while the hugely successful clubgolf scheme and £10m investment in golf events in Scotland will raise participation and interest in the sport across the country.

Dr Mike Cantlay, Chairman of VisitScotland, said: ‘The closing ceremony at Medinah marked the start of Scotland’s reign as the host nation of The Ryder Cup and we are determined to take full advantage of that fact.

‘The £100m boost The 2014 Ryder Cup will bring to the Scottish economy is obviously fantastic in its own right but we are working hard to make sure that Scottish golf and Scottish tourism will benefit from this magnificent tournament for years to come.

‘There is no doubt 2014 will be a year unlike anything we’ve ever seen in Scotland with the Commonwealth Games and The Ryder Cup. In sport, Scotland plays on the world stage. Our journey to inspire the world to come and see The Home of Golf starts today.’

Patrick Elsmie, Managing Director of The Gleneagles Hotel, said: ‘We want to ensure that Gleneagles is the backdrop for a truly fantastic Ryder Cup. In Medinah, we have had the opportunity to witness the tournament in action, and learn from our US counterparts but now it’s the turn of Gleneagles to be the the centre of the world stage. This is a fantastic opportunity to promote Scotland and Perthshire as a destination.’

Ian Miller, Council Leader at Perth & Kinross Council, said: ‘Perthshire is already known as a terrific golfing destination but in 2014 it will be on the map like never before. I know the people of Perthshire will embrace the event and help make it one to remember for a long time. But I’m also looking forward to local businesses welcoming The 2014 Ryder Cup and benefitting from the region hosting such an internationally-renowned event.’