Should European golf be concerned about Le Golf National legacy?

Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick December 16, 2021 15:10

Europe took a calculated gamble in deciding to send the Ryder Cup to Paris in 2018. It was the first time that the competition had been held outside of Great Britain, Ireland or Spain where Europe had traditionally dominated after the expansion of the competition in 1979. There would have been fears regarding the crowd at Le Golf National and whether they would provide the home advantage that can swing the balance in the key moments of the Ryder Cup.

However, the hierarchy of European golf should not have feared as the home crowds were on point and the players responded in turn with outstanding golf to put the USA to the sword with relative ease. The atmosphere and manner of victory in Paris matched those seen in the past at Celtic Manor, Glenealges, The K Club and The Belfy. There was optimism that the tournament would spark a wave of interest in golf and French golfers who were absent from the European Ryder Cup would begin to make their mark on the European and PGA Tours. It has not been the case.

Europe will travel in 2023 to Rome at the Marco Simeone Club in an attempt to regain the Ryder Cup after suffering a record-breaking 19-9 defeat at Whistling Straits in 2021. The latest golf odds back Europe at 2/1 to win the Ryder Cup, highlighting the challenge ahead of the captain, who will be selected in 2022. If you follow the golf betting tips this week you will not be surprised to see the top 20 of the world rankings stacked with American players rather than their European counterparts. You have to go down all the way to number 77 to find the first Frenchman on the list.

Ian Poulter celebrates winning his match on the 18th during singles matches of the 2018 Ryder Cup at Le Golf National on September 30, 2018 in Paris, France. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Victor Perez is a solid player on the European Tour with one title under his belt, but he will have to play extremely well to be considered for the Ryder Cup team in 2023. Given the fact that Le Golf National was announced as the host venue for the 2018 tournament in 2011, France would have been hopeful to have seen a number of potential players at their disposal; at least that was the opinion of Thomas Levet, who was part of the 2004 winning team. He hoped to see participation numbers in France skyrocket from 400,000 to over one million golfers along with an increase in the amount of courses across the country. Neither came to fruition, and the legacy of the tournament is in danger of becoming a failure in terms of its cultural impact for the game in France.

The European Tour may have the same trepidation again, although Italy has produced top-calibre players such as Francesco Molinari, who won all five of his games in 2018 before missing out in 2021. There will be great hope that he can carry the flag for Italy and Europe in the 2023 tournament, especially if he can find his form of 2018. Beyond Molinari there are not lot of golfers pushing through in Italy, but European golf’s hierarchy will be hopeful of being luckier second time around.


Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick December 16, 2021 15:10
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