One of the most influential men in golf has tipped Donald Trump’s north-east resort to host a major international tournament like the Ryder Cup within a decade of opening.
Players will tee off at the US billionaire’s Menie Estate championship course in 2012, and yesterday the site welcomed Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) chief executive Sandy Jones.
Last night Mr Jones – who is a senior Ryder Cup board member – said the luxury Aberdeenshire complex should have “everything needed” to host the tournament or a similar global event by 2022.
“This is such a fantastic site. There are not many sites left in the world that are so close to the sea with such magnificent dunes and the traditional links land around it,” he said.
“At the moment this is pretty unique – and it is only 20 minutes from a major international city.
“When this course is complete, there is no doubt in my mind – having seen the site this morning – that it will be one of the great golf courses in the world.”
He added: “I can’t see why this course would not hold a great tournament. Great tournaments are only great because they are played at great venues.
“It is clear to me that this is going to be a great venue – so you have the basis here for a great tournament.
“What you then need is the corporate support, which Donald Trump can provide through his own business acumen and business contacts.
“It has got all the ingredients – and another thing it has got is a great golfing population to support it.
“Aberdeen is a golf-mad city. I remember once seeing 3,000 people watching two amateurs competing for a local links championship.
“No other place in the world would get a crowd like that for a city championship.
“It would be a great place to bring a great tournament, and the Americans would love coming here.”
He believes the golf body Royal and Ancient would want to look at the course for a future Open championship venue, adding: “There are also other great events in the world, such as the world golf championships which attract all the top players in the order of merit.
“These are the targets that I think this course will attract and will want to host – and I think the people who organise these would want them to be hosted at venues like this because it will open up a whole new audience.
“I’ll be amazed if there is not a really major world event here within a decade.”
Mr Trump’s plan to build two golf courses, a £250million hotel, 950 holiday homes and 500 houses has already been backed by Aberdeenshire Council.
Sarah Malone, executive vice-president of Trump International in Scotland, said: “We are building this golf course with an international event in mind.”