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Ryder Cup: Bolton's Hulton Park project to learn fate

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I thought this was an April Fool joke when I first saw the headline but apparently it is true!

Bolton's Hulton Park will find out on Thursday if it is still in the running to stage the 2031 Ryder Cup.

Revised proposals to develop the 800-acre site in Lancashire are to be scrutinised by a planning committee.

If passed, the venue will be up against the London Club in Kent, with one being chosen in April for England's bid.

The host for the biennial match between Europe and the US will be announced in July 2022 with Ryder Cup Europe saying "several venues" are in contention.

A spokesperson for Ryder Cup Europe told BBC Sport: "We have received considerable interest in staging future editions of the Ryder Cup from several countries and venues across Europe.

"Discussions with all interested parties will continue in the months ahead before any decision and announcement is made."

Richard Knight of Peel L&P, who are behind the £250m Hulton Park project, said: "We hope that the council will seize this once-in-a-generation opportunity and support our efforts.

"Our revised proposals for Hulton Park are a great fit with the government's levelling up missions."

The Levelling Up White Paper, published earlier this month, confirmed the government had commissioned UK Sport to "lead feasibility work on the prospect of bringing major sporting events to the UK" with a particular "focus on opportunities outside London, supporting and underpinning the ambition to level up the UK".

Peel L&P says its restoration of Hulton Park would open up the estate to the public for the first time in its 700-year history as well as creating 1,000 jobs and apprenticeships and attracting £1.6bn of investment.

It revised its plans after receiving opposition from the local community, with residents concerned about damage to the environment and wildlife habitats.

Bolton Council has approved earlier plans, which included 1,036 houses built on green belt land, despite hundreds of objections.

Should the revisions be rejected, or if the London Club is chosen as England's preferred course for the Ryder Cup, the Hulton Park project will not go ahead.

The next two 'home' Ryder Cups are being held at the Marco Simone Golf and Country Club in Rome in 2023 and Adare Manor in Ireland in 2027.

The last English course to stage the Ryder Cup was the Belfry in 2002. The Warwickshire venue recently pulled out of the running to host the 2031 event.

The US has already chosen its next three venues, with the Bethpage Black Course in New York staging the 2025 event, followed by Hazeltine in Minnesota in 2029 and The Olympic Course in San Francisco in 2033.

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