The world will be watching Gleneagles in 2014 when Scotland hosts the next Ryder Cup tournament, First Minister Alex Salmond has said after he was handed the ceremonial silver putter after the European team retained the trophy with a dramatic comeback.
The FM thanked Medinah for a memorable tournament and said Scotland was honoured and thrilled to be hosting the next event, which will be staged during Scotland’s Year of Homecoming in 2014.
The FM’s speech was seen by an estimated television audience of 600 million which was also treated to a performance from Scottish musicians Julie Fowlis and Nicola Benedetti as well as being shown a film to showcase the Gleneagles event.
The FM told the crowd:
“I want to thank the thousands of volunteers from across the United States who have made our experience here at Medinah extra special.
“Most of all I want to thank the fans – from the United States and around the world – who have created the atmosphere which makes this match the greatest golf show on Earth.
“The song says that Chicago is ‘one town that won’t let you down’. That certainly applies to the Championship Committee of Medinah. This course has been presented in perfect condition and has staged a truly memorable Ryder Cup.
“Well done Chicago, and well done Medinah.
“Medinah is a great American course designed by a Scot. The Centenary Course at Gleneagles is a Scottish course designed by a great American – Mr Jack Nicklaus.
“Mr Nicklaus once said: ‘I have always felt that Scotland has been where it is for me. People have treated me like I was one of their own. It’s a great feeling. It’s like coming home.
“As First Minister it is my pleasure to invite all golf fans, here today and watching round the world, to share that feeling and come to the Home of Golf – Scotland.
“Golf is coming home and so is the Ryder Cup. For it was in Gleneagles in 1921 that the first international match was played which inspired the Ryder Cup.
“But whether you come to Scotland before, during or after 2014, I assure you, you will feel the vibrancy of our culture, the awesome beauty of our landscapes and, above all, the warmth of our welcome.
“We are honoured to be succeeding Medinah, we are thrilled to be hosting the next Ryder Cup, and we are preparing to welcome you all to Scotland.”
One of the world’s largest sporting events, the Ryder Cup is forecast to inject £100m into the local and wider Scottish economy during the week of the tournament alone. More than 250,000 spectators from all over the globe are expected to visit Gleneagles for the event, with millions more watching on television in more than 180 countries.
During this year’s event, the Gleneagles 2014 stand on the Medinah course has seen more than 5,000 of visitors flock to learn more about Scotland, Scottish golf and the Gleneagles tournament.