It’s got a reputation as one of the world’s greatest match play golf tournaments. Now the 40th Ryder Cup, the men’s competition between the US and Europe, is coming to the magnificent Gleneagles Hotel in Perthshire from 23-28 September next year.
It’s the first time since 1973 and (perhaps surprisingly) only the second occasion in the tournament’s history that Scotland has played host to this most prestigious and exciting of sporting occasions.
It was in 1973 that the US team, whose members included the likes of golfing greats Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Lee Trevino who beat Great Britain and Ireland at Muirfield.
But it was the European team that won in 2010 in Newport, Wales, and in 2012, when the last Ryder Cup was played at Medinah, Illinois, overturning a four-point deficit to claim a thrilling victory. In 2014, Europe will be seeking to top off a hat-track of consecutive wins – it has not lost in its home continent in 20 years and has won seven of the last nine matches.
All of this, however, will only serve to make the American team hungrier than ever to win. And Team Europe faces the added challenge of bringing together golfers from different countries with varying cultures and playing styles to form a single unit.
The qualification process for the USA team, captained by Tom Watson, will be determined by the US points system, and has begun already. For the European team, skippered by Paul McGinley, qualification takes place in Wales in late August and early September 2013.
The eagerness for victory is hardly surprising when you consider the Ryder Cup’s long and proud history. Just over 90 years ago, 20 players gathered at Gleneagles for an international challenge game between America and Great Britain. There was no trophy and almost nothing in the way of fanfare – but something had begun, and appetites had been whetted. The first official Ryder Cup was played six years later in 1927 at the Worcester Country Club in Massachusetts.
The glorious setting for the Ryder Cup 2014, in the heart of Scotland, is making next year’s tournament especially eagerly anticipated. The legendary American Jack Nicklaus designed the PGA Centenary Course at Gleneagles, dubbing it: “The finest parcel of land in the world I have ever been given to work with.”
In fact there are three courses at Gleneagles Hotel, including the King’s and Queen’s, regarded with reverence in the golfing world. But all eyes will be on the PGA Centenary Course, which has been extensively renovated at some of its key holes to give the 2014 Ryder Cup added drama on a 17-hole course which is already challenging enough to stretch the toughest player.
Golf has been played in the Perthshire region since the fifteenth century, and there are almost 40 courses in this part of Scotland, offering something for every golfer.
Clearly, an event of the calibre of the Ryder Cup would not be the success it is without its sponsors. One key corporate supporter is professional services firm EY, which was an official partner to the 2012 Ryder Cup team and is an official partner of the 2014 Ryder Cup.
The announcement of the partnership was made at Gleneagles with then European team captain José María Olazábal. Senior partner for the global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services in Scotland, Jim Bishop commented: “It’s an honour to officially make this announcement at the home of golf, where one of the world’s greatest sporting events will take place.”
European Ryder Cup Director Richard Hills said: “EY is a thriving brand like the Ryder Cup and we look forward to developing our partnership.”