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Spain seeking 2018 Ryder Cup
March 8, 2010

Spain is hosting more European Tour events this year than any other country and wants to protect that powerhouse status by winning the bid to stage the 2018 Ryder Cup, a leading official said.

Seven events are due to be held in Spain in 2010 and national golf federation (RFEG) president Gonzaga Escauriaza said in an interview his organisation owed it to all their tournament promoters to land the Ryder Cup vote.

Sweden, Netherlands, Portugal, Germany and France are the other nations in the running, with the winning bid to be decided in April 2011.

“The European Tour really associates professional golf with Spain and I think one of our special assets in terms of the bid is having seven events,” said Escauriaza on a visit to London.

“One reason we want the Ryder Cup is that we need to give the tournament promoters something, a weapon to go out and try to secure these tour events into the future.”

The tour has suffered as a result of the global economic downturn, with several sponsors and tournaments falling by the wayside.

Spain, however, can boast the World Match Play Championship, Spanish Open, Madrid Masters, Andalucia Open, Mallorca Open Castello Masters and Andalucia Masters on a proud portfolio of front-line events.

“The financial climate is difficult now… we (the RFEG) need help, we cannot finance all the Spanish tournaments so we thought we really needed the Ryder Cup to make it easier to sell our events in the market place,” added Escauriaza.

“With the Ryder Cup the interest among the media and the fans is huge. I think we owe the promoters that and the Ryder Cup would be special for them.”

If their bid is successful the RFEG will host the biennial contest between Europe and the United States in Madrid.

“We also want the tourist aspect of this for Madrid and we want to have a legacy which will help to keep alive the other tournaments,” said Escauriaza.

“The Ryder Cup will help us reach out to the general media as well as to the golfing media so we can spread the word among the non-golfers, this is our aim.

“We need to go out and introduce the game to them.”

Only once has a home match been staged outside Britain and Ireland since the Ryder Cup started in 1927, when the Spanish course of Valderrama hosted the 1997 edition.

Escauriaza said the RFEG had carried out research among British golf fans and it showed Spain was the preferred 2018 host, with 37 percent in favour ahead of Portugal (23) and Sweden (18).

“It is very pleasing to see the support and affection that UK golf fans have towards Spain and the Madrid bid,” said the RFEG president.

“These results show how Spain is perfectly placed to host the 2018 event and how our culture, climate and infrastructure are all key attractions for golf tourists.”

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