Relive the 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles

Gleneagles Ryder Cup first hole (Image: @RyderCupEurope)

The scene at the first hole at Gleneagles during the 2014 Ryder Cup. (Image: @RyderCupEurope)

Set in a rolling Perthshire valley, Scotland’s luxurious Gleneagles Hotel features two courses by the immortal James Braid and a Jack Nicklaus-designed showpiece that hosted the 2014 Ryder Cup.

(Last updated December 2018.)

That Scotland’s famed Gleneagles Hotel should host the 2014 Ryder Cup seemed almost predestined—and possibly overdue.

With two courses designed by the immortal James Braid and another by Jack Nicklaus, the resort’s standing among the United Kingdom’s inland golf properties is unrivalled. And the setting in a rolling Perthshire valley between the Ochil Hills to the south and the Grampian Mountains to the north is surely one of the most pleasing in Scotland.

Captains Tom Watson and Paul McGinley, whose European squad had won the previous two Ryder Cups, led their teams into battle at a resort long regarded as the pride of Scotland. Located an hour’s drive from both Glasgow and Edinburgh, Gleneagles sprawls across an 850-acre estate whose centrepiece is a magnificent 232-room (including 26 luxury suites) Scottish Baronial meets French Chateau-style hotel.

The 232-room Gleneagles Hotel (Image: Gleneagles Hotel)

The 232-room Gleneagles Hotel is the centrepiece of an 850-acre estate. (Image: Gleneagles Hotel)

Extensively remodelled over the past several years, the hotel’s interior is as comfortably elegant as one would expect. Nor is it a surprise that Gleneagles is home to Scotland’s only two-Michelin-starred restaurant. Gleneagles’ owner, Indian-born entrepreneur Sharan Pasricha, has said that he wants to return his property to the days of “glamorous gowns and cocktails…and show people of all ages what Scotland has to offer.”

Sporting options range from falconry, clay pigeon shooting and tennis to fishing and cycling. One of the newer attractions is the Gundog Training School, billed as the first of its kind, where guests experience how hunting dogs are trained.

But it’s golf that made Gleneagles famous. In 1921, three years before the hotel’s gala opening, the property hosted an international match between Great Britain and the United States, which was in effect the forerunner of the Ryder Cup.

The first two courses built at Gleneagles, the King’s Course and the Queen’s Course, are both the creations of Braid, who won five Open Championships before turning his hand to course design.

Braid’s genius is on full display at these captivatingly scenic moorland layouts, although the King’s Course is longer and far tougher. The King’s most famous hole is the 13th, known as ‘Braid’s Brawest,’ a par four demanding a long and straight drive to carry a ridge evilly booby-trapped with two deep bunkers.

Gleneagles Kings Course No. 8 (Image: Gleneagles Hotel)

The par-3 eighth hole on the James Braid-designed King’s Course. (Image: Gleneagles Hotel)

Many believe that the King’s Course is the strongest on the property. But the Ryder Cup was contested on Nicklaus’s PGA Centenary Course, a bold, brawny and frequently thrilling North American-style stadium design that at almost 7,300 yards is the longest inland course in Scotland.

More than 240,000 spectators descended on Nicklaus’s course for the best-attended golf event in the history of Scotland.

Leading 10-6 at the start of the final day, McGinley’s European squad needed just four points to retain the trophy. The end of a tournament that was never really in doubt came when Welshman Jamie Donaldson hit an approach shot onto the 15th green that stopped 18 inches from the pin.

Donaldson’s opponent, Keegan Bradley, conceded the birdie putt to give Europe a 16½ to 11½ victory in a showcase event that confirmed the standing of Gleneagles, which will host the 2019 Solheim Cup, among the world’s leading golf properties.

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