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Turnberry Ryder Cup bid 'thrown in the bin'

Exclusive Ryder Cup legend Tony Jacklin says Ayrshire resort’s 1980’s proposal was tossed aside

TWO-TIME major winner Tony Jacklin has revealed that Turnberry made a bid in the 1980s to stage the Ryder Cup, which was ‘put straight in the bin’ without even being opened by the former president of the PGA.

Speaking to our sister title bunkered at Nailcote Hall, where he was playing in the British Par-3 Championship, former Ryder Cup captain Jacklin told how the Ayrshire resort’s application to stage the event was dismissed out of hand by Lord Derby because it would have been ‘impossible’ to play the match there.

The Englishman’s revelation will stun fans of the Open Championship venue, which was also in the running to host next year’s match before Gleneagles finally got the nod.

Jacklin revealed: “In 1986, because I was the European captain at the time, I sat on the Ryder Cup committee. This was when Lord Derby was still was still alive and was president of the British PGA.

“I remember we decided to invite applications from clubs to hold the Ryder Cup sort of eight years ahead. I think because of the success we’d had in winning the Ryder Cup in 1985, people saw it as a bit of a money train and so a number of different golf courses put bids in to hold the match.

“Right at the top of the pile of all these ‘tenders’ I guess you would call them was Turnberry. They sent in their application in this beautiful, red, bound, covered document but we never found out what was inside. You see, these things all went to Lord Derby first, who the PGA thought was God, and he took the application from Turnberry and, without even opening it, put it straight in the bin.

 “I can remember seeing him do it like it was yesterday. He just simply said: “It’s impossible to go to Turnberry. Equinox, you know. Late September. The weather will be atrocious.” And so that was the end of that. ‘Equinox, you know’ - I’ll never forget that statement. I mean, it was a lavish presentation that Turnberry had put together and no-one ever got to see it. It was an absolute nonsense and nobody ever knew, either. I’m telling you for the first time 30 years later.”

Jacklin added: “The whole thing stunned me. You can’t assume the weather’s going to be lousy. You just can’t. But that’s how it was back then.

“It’s another example of yesteryear just being what yesteryear was.

“Lord Derby told me on a couple of occasions that I’d upset him. But why the hell would that bother me? I was always for the players and he was with the club pros, but he was sort of akin to royalty in the eyes of many people and got his own way most of the time.”

Meanwhile, the Ailsa Course has been confirmed as the venue for the 2015 Ricoh Women’s British Open. This will be only the second time in the championship’s history that it will have visited the Ayrshire course.

A host of the four Opens, Turnberry was the scene of the Women’s British Open Championship in 2002 when Australia’s Karrie Webb won this prestigious title for a third time. Webb’s triumph saw her open with a stunning first round 66 and close the tournament out with the same score. She came from three strokes back in the final round to clinch victory with a flawless final round over the Ailsa Course. In winning, she became the first player to win the championship three times.

Webb, who has won over 50 international titles in her illustrious career including seven major titles and is currently ranked No.6 on the women’s world rankings, said: “I am really pleased to hear that the Ricoh Women’s British Open will be returning to Turnberry.

 “I have wonderful memories of winning the 2002 championship and I can’t wait to return in 2015. Turnberry is one of the best courses I have played so I hope I can continue on from where I left off in 2002!

“All the players enjoyed the experience of competing on the famous Ailsa Course last time round so I think this news will be very enthusiastically received by everyone.”

The 2015 event will see the championship played in Scotland for the third time in five years following Carnoustie in 2011 and St Andrews, host to this year’s event.

Scotland’s regular hosting of the event is part of a ten-year investment by EventScotland which will see the championship played in the Home of Golf every second year until 2019.

Prior to Turnberry, Royal Birkdale Golf Club will host its sixth Women’s British Open in 2014.

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