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Late Ryder Cup may not be great idea

Staging the Ryder Cup as late as October in Wales is a huge mistake, the K Club’s director of golf Bill Donald says.

The Belfast man took up his role at the County Kildare club in the build-up to the European team’s famous Darren Clarke-inspired victory over the Americans in 2006.

Donald recalls how the hurricane which swept over the site and the torrential rain during the practice days turned the prestigious resort into a quagmire for spectators — although the course itself held up remarkably well for the three-day competition.

“By staging the Ryder Cup as late as October, it could potentially go into the Monday, which absolutely no-one would want,” Donald says.

“Celtic Manor is in a valley so there are potential problems with fog and light.

“I really don’t now what the rationale was behind the decision to stage it so late in the year, but it is a risk.

“In Kildare we held it in September and were extremely unlucky to be hit by a hurricane, but these things happen.

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“But I would be surprised if the organisers haven’t talked at length about it and will have contingency plans in place if the weather turns bad.”

It took some six months for the K Club’s Palmer course to be restored to its former glory after the traffic of 40,000 spectators every day for a week.

The K Club has launched a new initiative — the Ryder Cup Experience — a competition to coincide with this year’s event being staged in Wales.

“It will allow players to relive the experience for themselves with the Palmer course set up as it was for the last day of the Ryder Cup in 2006,” explains Donald.

“Players have to qualify by playing and winning on the Smurfit course first and the qualifying rounds will take place from March to September.

“The monthly winners’ final will then take place over the Palmer course on September 26 and 27.”

Further details about the competition are available from the Kildare club’s website at www.kclub.ie

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