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When Big Events Come To The Principality

BRIDGEND, WALES | When was the precise moment? When did it really hit home that the biggest stroke-play event to be held in Wales was to be staged at Royal Porthcawl, my golf club, last week?
Not an Amateur Championship, a Walker or Curtis Cup, a European Team Championship, a Home Internationals or a British Boys’ Championship or sundry professional tournaments. We’ve staged all those. This time it was the Senior Open Championship presented by Rolex.
Was it the sight of yardage markers in the practice ground – 50, 100, 150, 200, 250, 300 – or white tents going up adjacent to the chipping green, tents with pointed tops that resembled those at a medieval jousting tournament? Was it when Curtis Strange said: “This place is fantastic. How come I didn’t know about it?” or the sight of Dottie Pepper, headphones on, microphone to her mouth as she walked down the middle of a fairway talking to ESPN viewers. Was it hearing Ewen Murray, BSkyB’s lead golf commentator, concluding a telecast by saying: “So goodbye and goodnight from amazing Royal Porthcawl?”
All these and many more contributed to the sense of wonder (and pride) that one had last week at the realisation of what was taking place at Wales’ second-oldest Royal club, one where the sea is visible from every hole.
Wales is known for its mythical dragons and its crenellated castles, its singing and its rugby. Hitherto, its golf clubs and courses have been overshadowed by players and courses from other countries. Not any more.


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