The 2018 Ryder Cup will be held in continental Europe for just the second time in its history.
The venue announcement is edging nearer and on Tuesday (May 17) one of Portugal, France, Spain, Holland and Germany will be celebrating becoming the hosts of the biannual Anglo-American battle.
In the second of a five part series between now and the big day, Golfmagic takes a look at the contenders. Today, we’re off to Portugal…
What do you get if you splash $1 billion on a new golf and leisure development and ask the legendary Tom Fazio to design it, before plunking it on Portugal’s Alentejo Coast?
Well quite simply, an idyllic purpose-built Ryder Cup championship course destined to become one of Europe’s finest.
Fazio’s mammoth 7,867-yard Comporta Links is the American’s first ever course design on European soil – and the Portuguese nation will be hoping the number one trend continues when the 2018 Ryder Cup decision is made on Tuesday.
A successful bid will also substantially enhance the legacy that is left to Portugal and its people, providing The European Tour with a significant revenue stream for many years to come.
Comporta Links is set to become the focal point in Portugal’s plans to develop the Alentejo Coast as the country’s third golf major destination – alongside the Algarve and the Lisbon Coast.
In time, the area, blessed with one of the last unspoilt coastlines in Western Europe, will feature eight courses including a second at Herdade da Comporta, designed by David McLay Kidd, architect behind the Castle course at St Andrews; and 32 hotels, restaurants and a wide range of other tourist amenities – all designed to enhance Portugal’s reputation as a quality tourist destination and to bring 15,000 jobs to the local community.
Who’s backing it?
The bidding team has unsurprisingly enlisted the support of famous Portuguese faces, such as Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho. But one person behind Portugal’s campaign is Valderrama Golf Club President Don Jaime Ortiz-Patiño, founder of the famous 1997 Ryder Cup venue and Honorary Life Vice President of The European Tour in recognition of his services to European golf.
“I believe Portugal deserves to host the 2018 Ryder Cup because it is the only candidate that is a genuine golf destination,” he said. “You don’t go to Germany or the Netherlands to play golf but that’s exactly what you do when you go to Portugal – a country with a long heritage in welcoming golfers and that contribution deserves to be recognised by a successful bid.”
What they say…
“Our job, at this stage, is to make it difficult for the Ryder Cup authorities to ignore us and that’s exactly what we have done. The bid provides a Trophy course which we are convinced will soon be regarded as the finest in Continental Europe and a resort which will be developed with environmental sustainability very much in mind.”
Miguel Franco de Sousa CEO, of the Portuguese Golf Federation
What we say…
Having flown to the Camporta site to meet the team behind the bid, Golfmagic has no doubts it would put on a great show. But money is an issue. Maybe another year, Mr Fazio. And maybe in your own country.