Ryder Cup – Impending economic fiasco or showcase for Ireland?

The Ryder Cup tees of Friday at the K Club in Kildare with mixed reports coming out as to whether the investment was worth it and if it will be good for Ireland’s image abroad.

Following claims that some golf clubs have “doubled” their rates for the event, American Ambassador to Ireland James Kenny has already suggested Americans would be loathe to return to Ireland if they are overcharged.

Meanwhile, Anderson Economic Group (AEG), working with Dublin-based Amárach Consulting, estimates the Ryder Cup will bring €43 million into the Irish economy as opposed to the €130 million predicted by Fáilte Ireland.

There has also been the criticism that Ireland, not used to holding international golf events, blows its own trumpet and strictly targets the US market, while Scotland, the home of golf no less, is breaking into new markets such as China and Russia.

On the other hand, Scotland’s First Minister, Jack McConnell, sees Ireland as a major rival to its 500-million euro golf industry so the country must be doing something right. Scotland will send senior observers to the K Club as part of the country’s plans to put in a bid to host the event in 2014.

One of the sponsors, Bord Bia, also see the event as a major coup for Ireland. Chief executive Aidan Cotter said the message for the Ryder Cup is that the brand, Ireland the Food Island, highlights the capability, export capacity and range of innovative products of the industry.

“Of central importance amongst the international visitors are the 300 influential food buyers that we have invited from key export markets across the globe,” he said.