Captains enjoy year-to-go Ryder Cup celebrations

Europe and USA Ryder Cup team captains Paul McGinley and Tom Watson have completed a series of celebratory events marking a year to go until the 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles.

McGinley and Watson boarded a specially-commissioned steam train and took in the sights and sounds of the Scottish countryside in first-class Pullman carriages before arriving at The Gleneagles Hotel.

The captains were joined on board by Alex Salmond, Scotland’s First Minister, Minister for Sport Shona Robson, European Ryder Cup Director Richard Hills and PGA of America President Ted Bishop.

A raft of celebrity ambassadors, including James Nesbitt, Alan Hansen and Ruud Gullit, also boarded the uniquely-branded locomotive.

A commemorative flagstone marking improvement work at Gleneagles station was unveiled before the Ryder Cup captains took to the PGA Centenary Course.

There, they competed in a special event with sixteen junior golfers – a boy and girl from each of Scotland’s eight regions – from the country’s hugely successful ClubGolf Programme.

“There is tremendous excitement already about the Ryder Cup with a year to go – you can only imagine what it will be like when we get to next September,” said McGinely.

Watson, the eight-time major champion, added: “I’m very grateful for the opportunity to be captain in Scotland, a place that has been very special to me during my career.

“We anticipate a tremendous match and September 2014 can’t get here quickly enough.”

Celebrations were rounded off at Perth Concert Hall as 1,150 people joined McGinley and Watson for ‘An Audience with the Ryder Cup Captains’.

The 2014 Ryder Cup takes place at the Gleneagles Hotel, Perthshire, Scotland from September 26-28.