When I first heard that Wales was going to bid to host theRyder Cup I laughed. We weren’t in that league, or so I thought at the time. Then we bid and then we won – embarrassment was forecast. But how wrong I and many other cynics were. Team Wales has played a blinder.
The opening ceremony today was a tear-jerker for me: I admit to being emotional at big events, but there really was something special today. Great international sportsman coming together in a tremndous spirit of friendship and competition. It was wonderful and I wish I’d been there as opposed to watching it on the box.
Carwyn Jones, our First Minster, spoke really well, the rest of the speeches were pleasantly light and short and the master of ceremonies was called Di, which surely should have been Dai. There was very careful scripting that had no mention of England, no offence, but it was really important to get the geography right here. So well done to the script/speech writers.
But there was one blemish: the singing during today’s opening ceremony was woeful. Here was a moment to let the world hear our National Anthem, to belt it out and make it known around the globe. Instead we had a bastardised version that might have hit the spot from a musical perspective, but certainly did not fulfil the need to promote Wales. When I hear Hen Wlad Fy’Nhadau sung at the Millennium Stadium there is a micro-second at the start that makes the hair stand on end on the necks of everyone present.
However, overall, there can be no doubt that the Ryder Cup is happening in Wales. It’s not in Britain, it’s not near England, it’s in Wales, Wales Wales. Without doubt it is putting Wales on a very serious global map and surely will deliver great international and economic benefit. Well done Team Wales and well done Terry Mathews: if anyone deserves to be elevated to the House of Lords for services to his country then Sir Terry is that man.