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Loch Lomond to bid for 2009 Ryder Cup

When Pat Bradley and Dale Reid, the respective captains of the United States and Europe teams in the Solheim Cup this autumn, gathered at Loch Lomond yesterday, they anticipated being grilled about their teams' chances in the event. In fact, talk of the Solheim Cup was barged to one side by the announcement that Scotland will make a commitment to try to be the host country of the 2009 Ryder Cup, and that Loch Lomond probably will be one of the clubs bidding to stage the event.

"The Scottish Executive is currently working with the Scottish Tourist Board, Scottish Enterprise, sportscotland and others to put together a bid for the Ryder Cup in 2009," Rhona Brankin, the Deputy Minister for Culture and Sport in Scotland, said.

The Ryder Cup Committee will announce the host country for 2009 this year and the successful venue will be named in 2001. "We are keen to have more major golf tournaments in Scotland," Brankin added. "I don't see resources being a problem [for the Ryder Cup]. It is fitting that Scotland, the home of golf, should hold such events. This [the Solheim Cup] is a trial run for the Ryder Cup."

That last sentence was hardly what officials of the Ladies' European Tour wanted to hear. Why does women's golf always have to be put in the context of men's golf, they thought to themselves? "I don't want to compare it to the Ryder Cup," Reid said. "I don't like comparisons between men's and women's golf. There should be no comparisons between the Ladies' British Open and The Open."

Yet the Ryder Cup has become so successful and so big that it completely overshadows other team events in golf and any problems that occur in Ryder Cups invariably are also associated with other team events. Bad behaviour among players is one aspect that is common to these events. Many of the memories of the Ryder Cup last year in Boston centre on the invasion of the 17th green in the singles between José María Olazábal and Justin Leonard.

By the same token, past Solheim Cup matches have been marred by what the Europeans felt was excessive partisanship and bad manners shown by Dottie Pepper at Muirfield Village in the 1998 match. It should not be forgotten that Americans felt disappointed at the behaviour of some of the European team at Dalmahoy in 1992, when Europe won for the only time in the five matches staged so far.

Bradley and Reid are aware of their responsibilities to curb players' excesses in these areas. "I don't need to tell my players how to behave," Reid said. "The men don't mix as much as the women. It is friends against friends. There will not be any problems."

Bradley said: "Our players are aware of what happened at the Ryder Cup. They do not want it to happen to us. I do not intend to stifle my players' excitement, their competitive spirit and fire, but they know the integrity of the game and they know the rules."

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