Wales isn’t just a great place to play. We’ve also got some serious pedigree when it comes to major events and competitions. Every golf fan remembers our thrilling 2010 Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor Resort, but that’s just part of the story. We have annual events featuring top players and starry celebrity competitors, plus highlights of the international golfing calendar – like the 2014 Senior Open Championship, Wales’s first Major. See below for more on our golfing past, present and future.
The 2010 Ryder Cup, staged at Celtic Manor Resort near Newport in South Wales, was notable for a few firsts. It was the first to be staged on a course specifically built for the event – the mighty Twenty Ten – and it was the first to extend to four days, finishing on that memorable Monday when Europe thrillingly snatched victory by a single point. It was an unforgettable climax to a nail-biting Ryder Cup indelibly etched on the competition’s great history. No wonder team captain Colin Montgomerie described it as 'The proudest moment of my career.' Players can now experience their own bit of Ryder magic by testing themselves on the 7,943-yard Twenty Ten course, even getting ready in the same locker rooms used by the pros back in 2010.
Celtic Manor Resort is also home to two very different annual events, The Celebrity Cup and The ISPS Handa Wales Open. Debuting in 2013, The Celebrity Cup is a starry charity occasion featuring big names in sports and entertainment doing golfing battle on Celtic Manor’s famous fairways. It’s a fun day out for all the family, featuring competitors like football legend Kenny Dalglish, Rugby World Cup hero Mike Tindall and Hollywood star Ioan Gruffudd.
The stakes are a little higher at the ISPS Handa Wales Open, the biggest annual event in our golfing calendar. With a multi-million pound prize fund on offer, it attracts players from the upper echelons of the game. The list of previous winners reads like a who’s who of international golf, featuring names like Paul Lawrie, Ian Poulter, Miguel Angel Jiménez, Robert Karlsson and Graeme McDowell.
With the arrival of The 2014 Senior Open Championship at the historic links of Royal Porthcawl on the South Wales coast, Wales hosted its first Major competition. With a glittering roster including five times Open champion Tom Watson, 2010 Ryder Cup captains Colin Montgomerie and Corey Pavin, past champions Fred Couples and Bernhard Langer and Senior Tour rookie Miguel Angel Jiménez, it was a seriously stellar event. Bernhard Langer cruised to an incredible 13-stroke victory and evidently enjoyed his time on Porthcawl's mighty links. 'The course is definitely good enough for an Open Championship,' he said. 'I think it's a great test, especially when the wind blows a little bit.' Tom Watson was also impressed: 'I really fell in love with it immediately,' he said. 'It's a great test of golf.'
Our first Major was just the start of an incredibly exciting chapter in the story of Welsh golf – The Senior Open Championship will be returning to our shores two more times before 2024.