Cabinet for Economic Development

Press Release Date:  Friday, September 15, 2006  
Contact Information:  Mandy Lambert, (502) 564-7670  

FRANKFORT, KYAs Kentucky prepares to play host to the 2008 Ryder Cup, Governor and Mrs. Ernie Fletcher, along with Economic Development Cabinet Secretary Gene Strong and Tourism Commissioner Randy Fiveash, will lead a delegation to promote Kentucky during the 2006 Ryder Cup in Ireland.  This year’s event will be held September 19-24 at the K Club in Straffan, Co. Kildare, near Dublin.


Kentucky has been afforded an amazing opportunity to showcase its economic development and tourism development assets at both the 2006 Ryder Cup and more so as the host state of the 2008 Ryder Cup,” said Governor Fletcher. “It will be an honor to officially mark the transition from Europe to Kentucky as we represent the entire United States in this exciting and prestigious sporting event.”


Governor Fletcher and members from both the State Ryder Cup Task Force, chaired by Secretary Strong, and Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson’s City Task Force, chaired by Stan Curtis, will travel to Ireland to attend, observe and participate in this year’s Ryder Cup activities. 


A 16-member task force was appointed by Governor Fletcher last year to oversee the management of the state’s preparedness for this large-scale event. Mayor Abramson also appointed a 16-member task force to manage the event on a local level. Both groups have been working hand-in-hand to ensure Kentucky maximizes the potential economic impact this event will have on the commonwealth.


“It is our hope that the 2006 Ryder Cup will place Kentucky in the international spotlight,” said Secretary Strong. “Our mission is to make the 2008 Ryder Cup the most successful in the history of the matches. Experiencing the 2006 matches and learning first-hand what is needed to put on an event of this caliber will be invaluable to accomplishing this goal.”


On display for the 36,000 expected daily visitors will be the Kentucky Exhibit, featuring the state and city as a tourism destination, as well as a site for business location and expansion.  Approximately 155 European companies currently have operations in Kentucky. 


Governor Fletcher and the entire Kentucky delegation will staff the state’s booth throughout the matches and hold meetings with Ryder Cup officials and the Wales Chairman of the 2010 Ryder Cup.  Kentucky will also be recognized during the Opening and Closing Ceremonies.


While in Ireland, Governor Fletcher will also promote Kentucky’s horse industry as he meets with officials from the Racing Academy & Centre of Education (RACE) at the Curragh Race Track.  The North American Riding Academy at the Kentucky Horse Park is being modeled after the RACE at the Curragh.  Following a tour of the facility, Governor and Mrs. Fletcher will present the trophy to the winner of the Sportsman Race during the Curragh’s Ryder Cup Race Day.  This event will conclude with a Flag Exchange Ceremony with Governor Fletcher and Ireland’s Minister of Agriculture.


The 2008 Ryder Cup, to be held September 16–21 at Louisville’s Valhalla Golf Club, is expected to bring in 210,000 spectators, worldwide media attention, and an economic impact exceeding $100 million to the state.  Kentucky is only the third state to have hosted three of the four PGA of America Major Championships: PGA Championship 1996 and 2000, Senior PGA Championship 2004 and the 2008 Ryder Cup.