Ryder Cup host Terry Matthews barely plays golf
The man who brought the Ryder Cup to the land of his birth
hasn’t played more than a dozen rounds of golf in his life.
”Mostly because it takes four hours to go round. And this
place,” Welsh billionaire Sir Terry Matthews said with a sweep of
his arm, ”would take me a month or better.”
The Twenty Ten course, one of three on the grounds of the Celtic
Manor Resort that Matthews began work on nearly 30 years ago, is a
state-of-the-art layout with an old soul. Located just a 10-minute
drive from the Roman ruins at Careleon, the Twenty Ten has set a
standard that future Ryder Cup hosts will struggle to match.
Matthews, who made his fortune in the electronics business, had
renowned architect Robert Trent Jones Sr., design the course and
then brought in the European Tour’s design team to look after the
details. From the intricate drainage system underground to the
steeply sculpted hillsides that afford viewers the same panorama
whether they’re standing alongside the fairway or dining in a
corporate hospitality tent, no detail went unexamined.
”We started with a clean sheet of paper. At the last Ryder Cup
at Valhalla, they had 49 parking spaces for buses. We’ve got 140
and we’re sitting between the main arteries to two of the largest
cities in the United Kingdom, so people can come in here just ahead
of tee time and leave almost as soon as it ends.
”And yet,” he added, ”because we’re sitting in a valley, you
can’t even pick up the road noise.”
Matthews estimated he spent an additional $50 million preparing
the facility for the matches, including construction of a 100-meter
(330-foot) suspension bridge across the River Usk so players can
reach the practice area.
”That was really not the smartest use of funds,” he laughed.
”So while not everything was a business decision through and
through, make no mistake – that’s what’s driving just about
”It’s about the brand. If I go to Beijing or Delhi, Sydney,
Singapore or Johannesburg, they all know about the Ryder Cup. It’s
one of the most important sporting events on the planet. And
because of that, people now know about Celtic Manor.”