With three months to go until the start of The 2018 Ryder Cup and the focus of the world’s golfing attention this week on the stunning venue of Le Golf National, French golf fans have shown their support for the biennial contest in record numbers.
To date almost half of the 51,000 daily tickets purchased (43%) have gone to French fans, a number which comfortably surpasses the 37% of 45,000 per day which went to Scottish golf fans at Gleneagles in 2014, the last time The Ryder Cup was held on European soil. This interest bears out the many initiatives currently being undertaken by the French Golf Federation (FFG).
Keith Pelley, Chief Executive of the European Tour, said: “The support we have had from everyone in France; the Government, the French Golf Federation and the fans has been superb, and these numbers bear that out.
“I am aware there has been recent speculation in various quarters that the French public will not support the event, but this is simply speaking without the facts. On the surface I can understand why this might look like an attractive story for the media apart from one key point – it isn’t true.
“We have tremendous plans to make The 2018 Ryder Cup the best in history and we look forward to welcoming the tens of thousands of French fans to witness it, along with spectators from across the world.”
Pascal Grizot, Vice President of the French Golf Federation and President of France 2018 said: “There appears to be a difference between the public perception and the perception of some of the golfing community with regard to golf development in France.
“The French Golf Federation has 410,000 registered golfers and, according to independent studies over 800,000 golfers in total. In France, golf developed greatly in the 1990’s and 2000s and is now widely accessible, in particular in relation to young players whose numbers continue to grow. Statistics show that the number of under 18’s has grown from 27,000 in 2008 to over 30,000 in 2018; unlike other European countries who have seen their number of junior golfers decline.
“The FFG has two significant projects linked to the preparation for The Ryder Cup: the 100 Short Courses Programme and the educational programme, Mon Carnet de Golf. They both strongly contribute to the dynamics of golf development.
“The 100 Short Courses programme has initiated and created over 30,000 new golfers. The Mon Carnet de Golf programme has had a massive impact all over France and has initiated over 45,000 children between the ages of eight and ten to discover the sport.
“Both of these programmes illustrate the Federation’s strategy to continue to grow the game, in particular amongst youngsters. All the Federation’s activities are directly linked to being host of The 2018 Ryder Cup.”