France reacts to its winning 2018 Ryder Cup bid
2018 will see the Ryder Cup take place at Golf National, on the outskirts of Paris. The decision was announced at the European Tour headquarters at Wentworth shortly after noon on Tuesday, May 17. The French Golf Federation (FFGolf) will return to France having achieved their ambition and furthermore they are determined to use the Ryder Cup as a catalyst to grow this Olympic sport which has already over 410,000 registered players in France.
By European Tour staff
French golf came together in an unprecedented way in order to achieve this feat which will change the face of the game in France. Golf in France has never attracted so much media attention as well as garnered the support from the most senior public figures and private partners. The FFGolf had an overwhelming desire to host the Ryder Cup and put considerable effort to create a well thought out Bid and a carefully managed campaign which proved to be effective. The French Bid and its supporting campaign convinced the 24 members of the deciding panel who selected France ahead of the other candidates of Portugal, Madrid, Germany and Holland. For two years France has led a dedicated and relentless effort to make this dream become a reality. "We've always believed it could happen. My greatest satisfaction is to have brought everyone together to believe it too. French golf united and this did not go unnoticed by the European Tour. This huge victory is one for everyone connected to French golf" said a delighted Pascal Grizot, Chairman of the French Ryder Cup Bid, FFGolf. From the registered golfers in France who voted 80% in favour to a 3€ increase in their license fee to support the bid to the French professionals in conjunction with their club Directors, each one in their own way, has helped deliver this success which was built around a Bid of such quality which was unanimously recognised by the Directors of the Europe Tour as highlighted by Chief Executive George O'Grady.
Le Golf National, Paris, Versailles...
Golf National will be the setting for the twelve best European players to face their American counterparts in 2018. Hosting this major event at Saint-Quentin in Yvelines is a fantastic reward for the FFGolf who since the early 90's have built golf in France with the ambition of hosting the biggest golf tournaments in the world. In a time when many sporting federations aren't able to fulfill an international competition due to lack of adequate facilities, the FFGolf has demonstrated its ability to rise to the challenge dear to successive governments and allow France to shine. This will be on show for all to see in 2018. No doubt the charms of Paris and Versailles, key assets of the French Bid, will seduce golf fans from around the world who will be thrilled by the biggest international golf stars and discover a world renowned rich cultural history. Georges Barbaret, President of FFGolf delighted with the announcement said; "I can't wait for 2018. We have always believed in the link between culture and sport which I'm sure will make the Ryder Cup in France a unique event that will leave everlasting memories".
A lasting legacy
With so much energy and passion, there are high hopes that the Ryder Cup will create a significant boost for the expansion of golf in France. The FFGolf have repeatedly laid down their determination to leave a legacy in France; "We are convinced that the Ryder Cup will be a fantastic catalyst to increase participation at the highest level and above all will be a significant shift in the expansion of the game," commented Christophe Muniesa, Executive Director of the French Bid, FFGolf, adding, "that's why we have put so much effort into creating and ensuring delivery of a plan for 100 small urban courses which will make golf accessible for everyone."
The development of French golf will be truly strengthened if in the next few years it sees the emergence of a champion capable of challenging the best players in the world. The FFGolf has made this one of their priorities and this is evident by the human resources and financial backing deployed by the Direction Technique Nationale. The first results of this new and ambitious plan are already taking shape with some promising signs. This has given rise to the realistic hope of having French players in the European Team in 2018. No doubt that Romain Wattel and Alexander Levy, team world champions in 2010 or Victor Dubuisson (Amateur World N°1 2009) and Alexandre Kaleka, our principle hopes, have already considered the prospect adding additional motivation to their game. The Alstom Open de France, which takes place at Golf National each year, is already a distinguished event. With the Ryder Cup on the horizon, golf is reaching a new dimension.