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England’s hopes of staging the Ryder Cup for the first time in almost 30 years have been dealt a blow with news that Spain is close to winning the rights for the 2031 contest.

The Telegraph’s James Corrigan is reporting that Camiral Golf & Wellness, formerly PGA Catalunya, near Barcelona, is the front-runner for what will be the 48th edition of the biennial clash.

If successful, it will mark the Ryder Cup’s second visit to Spain, following the 1997 match at Valderrama.

It would also be a bitter blow to those behind long-running plans to bring the match back to England. The Ryder Cup hasn’t been played in the country since 2002, when The Belfry saw Sam Torrance’s Europeans win a thrilling clash with a United States led by Curtis Strange.

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Indeed, England had long been touted as the favourite to get the nod, with three venues – the London Club and as yet unbuilt courses in Luton and Bolton – all having expressed an interest in playing host.

According to the Telegraph report, the DP World Tour, which has responsibility for the Ryder Cup on this side of the Atlantic, has quietly streamlined its Ryder Cup host venue selection procedure in recent years.

It quotes an insider as saying: “The Tour was finding that they would have four or five bids, with loads of money spent on each, and at the end there would only be one happy party, with the others suddenly against the Tour. This way, it’s much less messy.”

Taking the match to the Camiral resort is, on the face of it, not much of a surprise. Many would regard it as a fitting ‘thank you’ for the resort’s unstinting and long-standing support of the DP World Tour.

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It has staged multiple tour events, including last year’s Catalunya Championship, and has been used as the de facto ‘home’ of Final Qualifying School for over a decade.

It is owned by Irish billionaire Denis O’Brien who has made no secret of his desire to emulate fellow countrymen Michael Smurfit (The K Club) and JP McManus (Adare Manor) by bringing golf’s biggest matchplay event to his resort.

During the bidding 2023 match – in which Camiral narrowly missed out to Marco Simone Golf & Country Club in Spain – he said: “From its inception, our Stadium Course was designed and built to host the world’s largest events, and hosting the Ryder Cup would be the realisation of this vision.”

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Michael McEwan is the Deputy Editor of bunkered and has been part of the team since 2004. In that time, he has interviewed almost every major figure within the sport, from Jack Nicklaus, to Rory McIlroy, to Donald Trump. The host of the multi award-winning bunkered Podcast and a member of Balfron Golfing Society, Michael is the author of three books and is the 2023 PPA Scotland 'Writer of the Year' and 'Columnist of the Year'. Dislikes white belts, yellow balls and iron headcovers. Likes being drawn out of the media ballot to play Augusta National.

Deputy Editor

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