A young Lothians golfer had the honour of handing over the Ryder Cup to Gleneagles bosses following its week-long tour of Scotland.
Now Kayleigh Singer, 17, is hoping her favourite player, Bathgate’s Stephen Gallacher, will also savour the thrill of having the iconic trophy in his grasp as part of Europe’s winning team in just over a fortnight’s time.
The first-ever official Ryder Cup Trophy Tour started in the Omni Centre in Edinburgh a week ago. Since then, it has taken in four corners of Scotland and covered golf courses stretching from Dumfries & Galloway to Shetland.
Its final leg – by helicopter from Aberdeen to Gleneagles – was delayed by morning mist at the Perthshire venue. But, with the sun finally having broken through, Singer, of South Queensferry, brought the tour to a dramatic close by handing the trophy over to Patrick Elsmie, managing director of Gleneagles Hotel.
It was through ClubGolf, Scotland’s junior initiative, that Singer had earned the chance to play her part in the symbolic final stage in the build-up to the Ryder Cup being held again in the home of golf. Fittingly, the scheme was launched at Gleneagles in 2003 as part of the Ryder Cup legacy, with Singer, who was 13 when she started playing golf, being among 300,000 children introduced to the sport through ClubGolf.
“I have had so many great experiences in golf since joining the ClubGolf programme, but this just takes it to another level,” admitted Singer as she stood in front of the iconic Gleneagles Hotel.
“I still can’t believe I was picked from the hundreds of thousands of ClubGolf kids to present the Ryder Cup Trophy to Gleneagles.
“I have my fingers crossed that my favourite golfer, Stephen Gallacher, will be holding the very same trophy come September 28!”
The courses visited during the tour included the most northerly, southerly, easterly and westerly ClubGolf courses in Scotland.
“The legacy of The Ryder Cup is important to everyone connected with the event,” said Richard Hills, Europe’s Ryder Cup director. “We have worked hard to ensure this will be the best Ryder Cup ever – not only in terms of the number of people we welcome on course each day but also in terms of its wider benefits.
“ClubGolf has brought the game to hundreds of thousands of children across Scotland who might otherwise have never picked up a club. At the same time, our innovative education resource has helped students learn important topics from maths, history and science through golf themes.
“We are rightly proud of these achievements and look forward to a thrilling event here at Gleneagles in just a few weeks time.”
The tour also took in courses chosen for their tourism and environmental connections.
“From the level of turnout and excitement at each stop, it’s clear that there is a huge buzz around Scotland in anticipation of hosting the Ryder Cup, one of the world’s biggest sporting events,” said VisitScotland chief executive Malcolm Roughead.”