Ryder Cup organisers dismiss weather fears for Gleneagles in 2014
Howling wind and torrential rain accompanied yesterday's date announcement for the 2014 Ryder Cup, but organisers dismissed fears of another weather-disrupted event in Britain.
The 2014 biennial match between Europe and the United States will take place from September 26 to September 28 on the PGA Centenary Course at Gleneagles in Scotland.
Europe are the holders, having triumphed at Celtic Manor last October in an event which went into a fourth day for the first time in history due to adverse weather in south Wales.
While golf's entry into the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro will lead to a restructuring of the sport's already-packed calendar, the 2014 Ryder Cup will remain in its traditional place on the schedule, rather than at an earlier date which might be less susceptible to bad weather.
The wet surroundings and lying water on the King's Course by the Dormy Clubhouse, where yesterday's announcement was made, must have made for uncomfortable viewing, but European Ryder Cup director Richard Hills maintained the weather is not a concern.
"It's on its traditional date," said Hills. "We are not an indoor sport. You have instances where tournaments in July have had to go into Mondays, so it's not unusual.
"We have to deal with what we've been given. (The possibility of changing the date) was looked at, but we were very comfortable with what was in the mix."
The competition will be played in the traditional three-day, 28-point format and there is the possibility of an additional day's play, if required.
"There's always been a provision that you could run over into that extra day," Hills added.
It will be the 40th staging of the Ryder Cup and the second time the event has been held in Scotland. In 1973, the contest was played at Muirfield in East Lothian.
There is a particular poignancy about the event returning to Gleneagles, too.
"The precursor to the first match in 1927 was a friendly match played here, at Gleneagles, in 1921," Hills said. "It's something of a homecoming."
Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond was present at the announcement. In an effort to allay fears over the Scottish climate, Salmond read out figures relating to conditions at Gleneagles earlier this year, describing them as "balmy sunshine."
The 2012 Ryder Cup will take place at the Medinah Country Club near Chicago next September, with Jose Maria Olazabal as European captain.
Scotland will have to wait until early 2013 to discover if Colin Montgomerie -- or any other Scot -- is awarded the captaincy for 2014.
"It's a decision which is taken by the tournament committee of the PGA European Tour," Hills said. "Normally that would take place in the second comm- ittee meeting after the Chicago match, early in 2013."
Two other announcements were made yesterday, with drinks giant Diageo joining as an official partner of the 2014 tournament.
Changes to the course were also made public, with adjustments made at the ninth, 10th and 18th holes following proposals by 18-time Major champion Jack Nicklaus.