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Brian Huggett named 2010 Ryder Cup ambassador

Brian Huggett, one of the most dynamic forces in Welsh golf over the past half century, has been appointed by The European Ryder Cup Board to be its ambassador in Wales as the country prepares to host the 2010 contest at The Celtic Manor Resort.

Only three Welsh golfers have captained Ryder Cup teams - the late Dai Rees, current incumbent, Ian Woosnam, and Huggett, who is regarded as one of the most successful Welsh golfers of all time and was a leading member of the bidding team which spearheaded the submission to take The Ryder Cup to Wales .

This new role will involve representing the Ryder Cup Board at public events and advising on the progress of the preparations for staging The Ryder Cup over the next six years. He will work alongside the Board's public relations agency in Wales , Freshwater UK , which has its headquarters in Cardiff .

"Brian is the ideal person to act as our ambassador," said European Ryder Cup Director, Richard Hills . "He is highly regarded in Wales , his knowledge of The Ryder Cup is second to none, and his playing record speaks for itself. Brian's brief will be to work closely with our partners - Ryder Cup Wales and The Celtic Manor Resort - to ensure that The 2010 Ryder Cup is a huge success and a credit to the host nation."

Born in Porthcawl in 1936, Huggett's career has spanned six decades, during which time he has achieved iconic status in his native country. The first of his six Ryder Cup appearances came at Atlanta in 1963 when he partnered George Will to a 3&2 foursomes win in his debut match against US PGA Champion Johnny Pott and Arnold Palmer.

He played in five subsequent matches before leading the GB & I Team at Royal Lytham & St Annes in 1977. Afterwards, he took a key role in discussions to add Continental Europe to the competition, thus transforming a one-sided match of little appeal to the Americans into one of sport's most exciting spectacles.

His record was nine wins, six halves and ten defeats in 25 appearances. He was unbeaten at Muirfield in 1973 when he teamed up with Maurice Bembridge to beat the legendary pairing of Palmer and Jack Nicklaus 3&1 in the fourballs, eventually claiming three and a half points out of four.

But perhaps his greatest Ryder Cup moment came four years earlier when his brave four-and-a-half foot putt on the final green halved his singles match with Billy Casper and paved the way for Tony Jacklin to earn Great Britain and Ireland a famous tied match, 16-16, thanks to a sporting concession from Nicklaus.

Huggett won the Harry Vardon Trophy in 1968 as the leading money-winner with £8,000 on The European Tour and was awarded an MBE for services to golf in 1978. The first of his 16 European titles came in Holland in 1962 and his last in 2000 when he claimed the Beko Seniors Classic in Turkey , two years after capturing the prestigious Senior British Open Championship.

An accomplished golf course designer, he has advised on the plans to redevelop the Wentwood Hills course at The Celtic Manor Resort to transform it into a lay out ideal for The Ryder Cup in 2010.

"I am totally committed to helping Wales get everything right for 2010," said Brian. "I think people are only just beginning to realise what a big thing it is to be hosting the world's third largest sporting event and appreciate the boost it is giving to golf development, tourism and the economy.

"This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to establish Wales as a premier golfing nation. We need to grasp it with both hands."

 

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