9:44pm Thursday 30th September 2010
By Michael Duffy
By Spring 2001 all bids had been submitted and we were in limbo concentrating on running the hotel which had taken off beyond all expectations and preparing for The Wales Open which was due to be staged at the beginning of August.
Based on the pro`s feedback from the inaugural Wales Open adjustments had been made to the course to reduce the length of walking between holes and this was being fed to the golfing media.
Then along came a PR opportunity in the shape of ex-president Bill Clinton who was scheduled to be making a book signing appearance at the Hay-on –Wye Book Festival about 90 minutes away.
The plan was to invite him to stay with us, play the course and hopefully glean a few good quotes which we knew would make the national press.
Negotiations opened and word came back from his people that he may be interested and the fee would be $30,000 plus accommodation for him and entourage.
The fee was agreed and we soon had the obligatory visit from large crew cut men with bulging jackets to check out security and we were all set to receive our first global VIP.
Everything was in place and at the last minute he pulled out saying he was going to stay at a private residence closer to Hay-on-Wye,I went home for the weekend and on Sunday morning woke up to see pictures of Bill splashed all over the papers.
Splashed all over the papers playing golf at Loch Lomond, one of our 2 rivals in The Ryder Cup bidding war…..
Looking back now it all seems fairly insignificant but at the time we were involved in this point scoring battle against our rivals from north of the border and one that was to spill over into the Summer of 2001 as we were all due to host Europeantour events.
Later, how we taught the Welsh to be Welsh
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