Golf fans displaying ‘incredible warmth’ to Scotland

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Thousands of golf fans from across the globe have visited the Gleneagles 2014 stand at the Ryder Cup in Medinah, displaying ‘incredible warmth’ to Scotland as the Home of Golf, First Minister Alex Salmond has said.

As efforts to bring spectators to Scotland for the 2014 tournament continue during this year’s competition, the First Minister hailed the fantastic response gained from the more than 5,000 visitors who have streamed into the Gleneagles stand to find out more about the next Ryder Cup.

Mr Salmond said the enthusiasm for Scotland he had witnessed so far on course showed efforts to entice golf fans to Gleneagles, which will begin as soon as the last putt is sunk on Sunday, would be well received – paving the way for a fantastic event when the Ryder Cup returns to the Home of Golf in two years’ time.

The First Minister spoke during a trip to Chicago that has seen him undertake a programme of business engagements ahead of a keynote address to the Chicago Council of Global Affairs and a meeting with Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

The First Minister said:

“It is clear from the response we have seen on the course this week, that golf fans from all over the world have an incredible warmth for Scotland as both the Home of Golf and a destination for an unforgettable holiday.

“So far more than 5,000 people have visited the Gleneagles 2014 information stand, located in prime position on the first fairway of this magnificent Medinah course. The reception has been fantastic, with many visitors already indicating they intend to make the trip to Perthshire in two years’ time.

“With many more expected before the end of the tournament, this enthusiasm for Scotland, and Scottish golf, will stand us in excellent stead as our efforts to attract people to Gleneagles step up as soon as the last putt is sunk on Sunday.

“The tournament closing ceremony will offer us another fantastic opportunity to showcase Scotland to the thousands on course as well as the 500 million expected to watch on television, as Gleneagles is officially handed responsibility for the next Ryder Cup. It is imperative that we capitalise on this opportunity to sell Scotland to the world, and ensure the next Ryder Cup is a huge success.”

The First Minister will play a major role in the handover ceremony at close of play today when he will receive the ceremonial silver putter that denotes Scotland taking over the tournament preparations. One of the largest sporting events on the planet, the Ryder Cup is expected to inject 100 million pounds into the local and wider Scottish economy during the week of the tournament alone.

In all, more than 250,000 spectators from all over the globe are expected to visit Gleneagles to watch the event, with millions more able to watch the action on TV in more than 180 countries.

The Gleneagles 2014 stand on the Medinah course offers visitors the opportunity to learn more about Scotland, Scottish golf and the Gleneagles event. It is located just yards from the first tee of the tournament course, offering an unprecedented opportunity to showcase Scotland to the international golfing public.