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Sky win rights to 2001 & 2003 Ryder Cups
Sky settle Ryder Cup dispute
European Tour & Ryder Cup sue Sky over coverage

Sky win rights to 2001 & 2003 Ryder Cups

The next two Ryder Cups between Europe and the United States are to be televised exclusively live on Sky Sports, the satellite broadcaster announced on Friday.

The Americans defend the trophy in 2001 at The Belfry and the 2003 match is at Oakland Hills, Detroit.

Under a four-year deal with the PGA European Tour, Sky has also renewed its broadcast rights to the Tour and will show at least 33 live events each year.

A BBC spokesman said: "The PGA has missed a golden opportunity to give the Ryder Cup back to the nation, especially after its recent well-publicised dismay at the broadcasting arrangements this year. "The BBC made a very competitive and imaginative bid for the Ryder Cup package - one which more than matched BSkyB's. We do not believe that the PGA can possibly justify this decision, which lets down millions of golf fans. "In addition, at a time when the golf industry is complaining about falling interest in the game, the decision seems quite out of step with public opinion.

"Earlier this year our nightly highlights of the Ryder Cup at Brookline attracted audiences in excess of two million despite starting for contractual reasons close to midnight. In contract, BSkyB's live coverage had around 500,000 viewers.

"Our live coverage of the US Masters in April was seen by a peak audience of 3.6million and our rating for the final day of the Open championship at Carnoustie in July approached seven million. "No-one does more to support golf in the UK than BBC Sport."

Ken Schofield, the Tour's executive director, countered: "The commitment made by Sky Television to golf has been unprecedented and this agreement will not only extend our partnership, but also enhance the continued development of the game throughout Europe and beyond."