Ryder Cup: First Minister wishes European golfers good luck

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Europe’s top golfers have been sent a good luck message on the eve of the Ryder Cup from the First Minister Alex Salmond, who said the team was well-placed to emulate their remarkable victory at Celtic Manor in 2010.

Speaking ahead of the tournament’s official opening ceremony, Mr Salmond said every golf fan across the continent of Europe was behind Jose Maria Olazabal’s men as they prepare to take on the USA team at the Medinah Country Club in Illinois.

The First Minister said:

“I would like to wish Jose Maria Olazabal and all of the European golfers the very best of luck as they prepare for this weekend’s Ryder Cup match at Medinah.

“The European team looks very strong this year, boasting four of the world’s top five players, and I believe they are in a strong position to emulate their remarkable victory in the 2010 competition at Celtic Manor in Wales.

“However, they will undoubtedly face a very tough challenge from a fired-up and talented USA team cheered on by a passionate American home crowd. Every player in the European side will therefore need to play extremely well for the team to win, or even retain that famous trophy.

“Golf fans across Europe are behind the team, with substantial numbers making the trip to Medinah to offer their support. I know the European golfers will do them proud in what I expect to be a fantastic match.”

The First Minister’s message follows the announcement by global company Sigma Aldrich that they are expanding their operations in Scotland, with the development of a new powder manufacturing facility on its Irvine site – supported by a £1.5 million grant from Scottish Enterprise.

While in Chicago, the First Minister is undertaking a programme of business engagements, delivering a keynote speech to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and meeting city mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Mr Salmond will also play a major role in the handover ceremony at the close of play on Sunday, September 30, when he will receive the Silver Putter which denotes Scotland taking over the tournament preparations for Gleneagles 2014.

One of the largest sporting events on the planet, the Ryder Cup is expected to inject £100m 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 television in more than 180 countries.