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2009 Ryder Cup decision delayed until July

Chief executive of the Ryder Cup committee, Sandy Jones, announced on Thursday that no decision on where the 2009 Ryder Cup will be hosted will be made until at least July, maybe even later. Originally February had been the target date to choose either the English, Scottish or Welsh bids.

Jones announced that the main reason for the delay was a planned visit by the Ryder Cup committee to Slaley Hall, Northumberland, during the Compaq European Grand Prix, to view the venue under tournament conditions, an event which doesn't take place until June.

Jones said "We agreed at our meeting this afternoon that Ryder Cup members would visit the tournament to meet key officials and see how it is organised.

"It is something we are looking forward too. We have plenty of time to make our decision as to where the Ryder Cup should be held.

"All three bids have been very impressive. Here, like in Scotland and Wales, some areas are stronger than others.

"In others they are weaker. But the north east bid possesses all the ingredients and I have no doubt about their seriousness of attaining their goal.

"They certainly know where they are going."

"We have been very impressed by the north east bid and they have more than satisfied the criteria of the bidding procedure."

Derek Casey, chief executive of Sport England, has been involved in the English bid, in mind to bring Lottery funding into the bidding process.

"That was a wise move for them to make," said Jones.

"We knew Slaley Hall was being put forward as the English bid but didn't know in real terms what that meant.

"But Derek has confirmed Sport England are fully behind the north east's proposal, and will give it their total support."

Jones has been impressed by the bid from Slaley Hall

He said: "It doesn't have a long tradition. But after reading the initial application and listened to what I have heard this afternoon I would not be surprised by anything I hear or see from them anymore.

"We've discussed the strengths and weaknesses of their proposals. The latter can be sorted out.

"But by fetching Derek Casey along this afternoon they have already strengthened a question we wanted answering and shown they do have a heavyweight organisation behind them."

No doubt the delaying of the decision to allow the English bid to be showcased in June will be taken as a setback by the Welsh and Scottish bids.

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