By DAISY SAMPSON [email protected]
President of the Algarve Tourism Board (ERTA), Nuno Aires has declared his “outrage” that a golf course from the Algarve has not been selected as the potential host course for the 2018 Ryder Cup and stated that the entire Portuguese bid was now in jeopardy because of this “bad decision”.
Portugal is currently bidding to host the prestigious golfing competition with applications due by the end of the month, however the commission responsible for the Portuguese application has declared that the Herdade da Comporta course, situated an hour from Lisbon on the Alentejo coast, will be the course being put forward as part of the bid.
“This was a strategic mistake by the commission,” said Nuno Aires during a press conference on April 13. “The Algarve should have been the clear choice to head an application of such an event.
“The Herdade da Comporta is nothing, it does not even exist as a golfing destination, so it is with outrage that we see the Algarve region not included in the application for the Ryder Cup,” said Nuno Aires.
According to Nuno Aires, the region responded to all the requirements and specifications submitted by the Portuguese Golf Federation and met all the criteria put in place.
“The international competition for the Ryder Cup is very strong and if the Algarve had been chosen as part of the bid, the country would have had more of a chance to host the international event.”
The announcement to choose the Alentejo course was made on April 9 by Manuel Pinho, the president of the commission, who said: “We had excellent proposals from other courses, however, this is our final choice for the application.”
A statement from the Portuguese Golf Association said: “The Alentejo coast is a new tourist destination with great potential. All the infrastructure required to host the Ryder Cup will be able to be built in the area, including two new five star hotels, without any difficulty.
“If the competition is held in the Alentejo then it will have a positive impact on the three regions – Algarve, Lisbon and Alentejo – as visitors and players will be close to all.”
There are no plans to reverse the decision, however, Nuno Aires has said he is waiting for a meeting with the Portuguese Golf Federation for them to be able to justify choosing the Herdade da Comporta over an Algarve course.
The Ryder Cup is the third largest sporting event in the world after the Olympics and the World Cup. In 2006, the competition held in Ireland was watched by 260,000 spectators yielding revenue of 240 million euros. The 2010 Ryder Cup is to be held at The Celtic Manor Resort, Newport, Wales between October 1 and 3.