First Minister Alex Salmond helped open the Ryder Cup this afternoon, speaking to the crowds at Gleneagles and welcoming the golfing world to Scotland.
Addressing around 20,000 spectators at the Opening Ceremony the first minister said: “This is only the second time that the Ryder Cup has come to Scotland, the Home of Golf.
“But in a very real sense the Ryder Cup is coming home to Gleneagles. For it was here in 1921 that the very first intercontinental challenge match was played which became the forerunner for tournament we have today.”
The First Minister added that while this weekend will be close, Scotland were guaranteed victory in the 1921 tournament: “In 1921 there were two native born Scots in the British team. There were four native born Scots in the American team – allowing Scotland to claim victory regardless of the outcome!”
Salmond added that Scotland was hosting the ‘greatest golf tournament in the world’ he said: “24 of the finest players in the world will play for no monetary reward whatsoever. They will play instead for love of country, continent and respect for the game of golf.
“That ladies and gentlemen is what makes the Ryder Cup special – the greatest golf tournament in the world. It is therefore right and proper that over these next three days these great players will compete over a course designed by Jack Nicklaus, the greatest golfer in history. But as he would be first to acknowledge, while Mr Nicklaus designed the course, it was God who designed Gleneagles.
“So, in this special place at this special time let me say this. “On behalf of the Government, our outstanding partners in the European tour led by George O Grady and the people of Scotland.
“To both captains and to both teams, welcome to Gleneagles. Welcome to Scotland”.