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France worthy winners of race to stage 2018 Ryder Cup

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Iain Carter | 14:45 UK time, Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Sentiment didn't sway the hard head of business when Ryder Cup Europe announced the match will be played for the first time in France in 2018.

Late in the bidding process there was renewed campaigning for the event to be staged in Madrid after the recent death of Severiano Ballesteros - the legend who had been advocating the match to be played in his native Spain for the second time.

Players, fans and some administrators suggested that awarding the Ryder Cup to Madrid would be a fitting tribute to Seve, who died just eleven days before the decision was made on which country would stage the 2018 match.

In all there were five bids, but France and Spain were perceived as the frontrunners ahead of Germany, Portugal and the Netherlands.

Thomas Levet and Jean Van de Velde hold the Ryder Cup

French golfers Thomas Levet and Jean Van de Velde will be among those hoping to retain the Ryder Cup for Europe. Photo: Getty

While Spain had the Seve factor, the attempt to take the match to the Le Golf National in Versailles ticked boxes on finance, legacy and golfing legitimacy. Ultimately this is what tipped the scales against the sentimental option.

The French bid had strong government backing; President Sarkozy had already deemed staging the Ryder Cup as "a priority" and there was plenty of money behind the project.

European Tour boss George O'Grady pointed to the promise to set up 100 urban golf courses in France to make the game more accessible as a key element of the proposed legacy.

Already 80% of registered golfers in France have voted in favour of a €3 increase in their license fees to support their country's bid.

But most exciting for golf fans on both sides of the Atlantic is the quality of the course - a stadium layout reportedly capable of holding 70,000 fans a day that has already proved itself as the long-term venue of the French Open.

It is a course that boasts a superb stretch of finishing holes ideally suited to the demands of matchplay golf.

With a plentiful supply of hotel rooms, decent transport links and a fan park promised for the Eiffel Tower the ingredients are there for an extraordinary experience for those attending in whatever capacity.

Spain, no doubt, deserve sympathy for missing out, especially after Ballesteros's recent passing. At the moment emotions are raw but how relevant is this factor seven years from now?

It was important to take the Ryder Cup to a country that has not staged it before and the fact that one of the world's great capital cities made such a bold bid is fitting testament to the impact Ballesteros had in making the match as desirable to stage as it is today.

Seve Ballesteros with the Ryder Cup trophy, Valderrama, 1997

Seve Ballesteros was captain of the Ryder Cup-winning European team in Spain, 1997. Photo: Getty

Spain mounted an impressive bid but it could be argued the German bidders deserve just as much sympathy for missing out.

As a player and a captain Bernhard Langer made an immense contribution to the Ryder Cup and his brother Erwin's attempt to stage the event would have provided a fitting tribute.

This is especially the case when you consider how Langer inspired Martin Kaymer to become perhaps the world's dominant golfer in the decade leading up to the 2018 match. He has the potential.

But just as likely, the staging of the contest near Paris will prompt the emergence of new French talent. There is every chance given the way France traditionally embraces the development of elite sport.

As for honouring the memory of Seve, that will come. The European Tour has revealed it is actively considering what would be an expensive process of changing its logo to reflect the great man's contribution to golf.

There will also be news on the Seve Trophy in the coming weeks and months. The biennial match between Continental Europe and Great Britain and Ireland is not the cash cow that is the Ryder Cup, but is an ideal vehicle to display sentiment and gratitude towards the man who did more than any other to popularise the European game.


  • Comment number 1.

    Correct decision I think but why didn't they do as before and announce further venues to avoid the bidding process having to be repeated? To give Germany 2022 would have made sense before presumably returning to England again.

  • Comment number 2.

    Absolutely the correct decision. This course will be popular with spectators and players.
    I don't think Germany are a lock for 2022, they will face competition from Sweden, Denmark, Netherlands and Italy. Personally, I would love to see Sweden or Netherlands get it.

  • Comment number 3.

    First of all, I agree with your endorsement of the French bid. I think they will do a great job.
    Secondly, I am glad you bought up the Seve trophy, because as of now there is no such thing. As recently as yesterday the Eurpean Tour website published the current standings for the Vivendi trophy with Severiano Ballesteros. It is going to be fascinating to see how the tour (and Vivendi) deal with this issue. Personally I am hoping for three things:
    1 The proper name is restored
    2 Ollie and Monty take back the captaincy for this year
    3 The players decide to turn up!
    It is a great shame the Seve trophy never fully captured the imagination of the golfing world. It will never be the Ryder cup, nor should it be, but as a rehearsal for the main event and as a competition in its own right, it deserves far more than it has received over the last few years. I hope this will change now as it takes its place as part of Seve's legacy

  • Comment number 4.

    Delighted the Ryder Cup is heading to the continent again. Hope to see it in Germany, Scandinavia aswell in future.

    I love the already relatively new European Tour Harry Vardon logo and think it should stay. I'd like to see the Seve Trophy back properly, get it on terrestrial television and also invent a new Seve Award/Trophy each year for whatever category we want, some form of player of the year, contirbution of the year etc.

  • Comment number 5.

    I would go for Italy next - Manassero will be on his tenth major by then!

  • Comment number 6.

    Great choice. The open de France is one of my favourite tournaments of the year. Such a great course & that finish will be superb!

  • Comment number 7.

    There are going to be noses put out of joint the next time or three RC venues are doled out with the very real probability that we won't see another Cup in GB&I until the very late 2020's, especially if Spain gets another crack at it.
    That's the price for too many Ryder Cups at the Belfry at the expense of more deserving sites, and the resultant (apparent) imperative of satisfying Wales and Scotland.

  • Comment number 8.

    Martin C may need a geography lesson. The last time I looked, Gleneagles was not in England.

  • Comment number 9.

    Not even a by-line on LeMonde. France really loves golf hey?

  • Comment number 10.

    Pretty fair choice. France is loyal to the European Tour. There used to be more then 2 tournaments a year on the main tour. Nowadays there is only one, but the challenge tour still has 3 or 4. So France is an important partner for the ET. I think the suggestion of the urban golf courses is a bit dodgy though. France already has plenty of courses. And outside of the main tourist areas they can be very quiet. No need for new courses. Just develop what's already there seems to make more sense.

  • Comment number 11.

    'very real probability that we won't see another Cup in GB&I until the very late 2020's ... That's the price for too many Ryder Cups at the Belfry at the expense of more deserving sites, and the resultant (apparent) imperative of satisfying Wales and Scotland.'

    Ummmm, last time I checked, Scotland and Wales were part of GB and I - typical English centric comment from some one who no doubt was not at Celtic Manor last year to witness the greatest sporting event to have taken place on British soil.

  • Comment number 12.

    Great choice. I too look forward to the Open de France as the course is challenging, and become quite picturesque in recent years and there should be no shortage of spectators (wife goes shopping in Paris, whilst hubby is out on the links).

    Ian, whilst I could possibly see Thomas Levet taking part, I think the nearest Jean van de Velde is going to get is as captain (possibly) or more likely in the commentary box where doesn't do a bad job, especially given he's speaking english as a second language (bit like the Americans actually!!!).

  • Comment number 13.

    Comment #11:
    My point was meant to be that Ireland, Wales and Scotland should have received earlier Ryder Cups, which were awarded to the Belfry when better, more geographically diverse venues would have been preferable. That's why I said "resultant". Wasn't at CM in 2010, but was in 2009, and have been to three other RC's. Plus I'm proudly half-Welsh so no preaching please.
    If you have a constructive comment to make, perhaps you'd let us know when you next expect to see the RC in GB&I? Not until 2026 I'd imagine, at the earliest.

  • Comment number 14.

    re billtills on comment 8 re my Gleneagles geography my point was that it's england's turn to host it after ireland, scotland and wales have taken their turn more recently unless northen ireland feels it should be considered separately. Question is whether the UK should still host it disproportionately regularly to the rest of europe in light of the origins of the tournament or should it now do the rounds in Europe? Suspecting the latter may be the case I went to Celtic Manor last year and it was fantastic, admittedly we got the bonus of extra golf as we went on Saturday. Lets hope hereafter all the players play all the matches.

  • Comment number 15.

    This is like giving the cricket world cup to Mongolia! France and golf?

  • Comment number 16.

    Great news. My Boys will be 11 & 10 when this rolls round so we'll be having a family holiday to France to watch this, (Wife and Daughter will likley stay in Paris!)

    For me, that's the attraction, making it part of a holiday, an adventure. Gleneagles is 20 miles from me, and of course I'll go to that, but personally France will be a better occassion because of the whole going away/adventure/on tour factor, rather than a just a few day trips.

    I personally hope it stays on mainland europe for a while to come to provide me with my biennial family golfing holiday.

  • Comment number 17.

    What about the Belfry for future Ryder Cups?

  • Comment number 18.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?


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