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Woosnam & Ballesteros back Wales Ryder Cup bid

Ian Woosnam practicing at the Wales Open voiced his support for the 2009 Ryder Cup bid by Wales. Allsport

The Wales Ryder Cup bid earned immediate backing from five times major winner Seve Ballesteros who will be playing in the inaugural Wales Open starting at Celtic Manor on Thursday.

"The Ryder Cup has never been in Wales so I don't see any reason why it should not be held here," said Ballesteros who campaigned long and hard to get the match played in Spain. He captained Europe to victory over the United States at Valderrama in 1997.

"I've said before it should move around Europe and go to different countries and it's never been in Wales, so why not?"

Only Scotland has made an official bid, although there have been inquiries from several countries including Sweden.

Bids will be considered later this year but a decision on the 2009 venue is not expected until late 2001.

"I'm definitely in favour," added Ian Woosnam who appeared in eight consecutive Ryder Cups from 1983 onwards, compiling the best fourballs record in the event's history.

"It doesn't lack for anything, you've got this resort with 400 bedrooms, the clubhouse which is second to none and the practice facilities and two other golf courses to go with it.

"I've been to plenty of other resorts and this has a lot more going for it, and there is a great benefit for it to come to Wales and Celtic Manor."

Tom Middlehurst, Minister for Sport in Wales, believes the country and course are more than capable of staging such a prestigious event.

"We have a superb venue here at the Celtic Manor to host such a prestigious event and I know that Wales can offer the facilities, infrastructure and other support to attract the PGA," said Middlehurst.

"I strongly support Wales' bid and urge everyone to work together to make sure we bring the Ryder Cup to Wales in 2009."

Rhodri Morgan, the First Secretary for Wales, added: "We're confident we could do the best job the Ryder Cup has ever had if we are given the opportunity in 2009."

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