France has become to be the center of the golfing world this month as the LPGA Tour contests its final major championship of the season, the Evian Championship, on the east coast of the country while in two weeks, the Ryder Cup comes to the country’s capital city for the biennial competition.
You would think a string of high-profile events like France is in the midst of hosting would be great for the French golfing public, but Evian tournament chairman Franck Riboud believes adamantly otherwise.
“I’m going to be very nasty with my country. My country is not a golf country,” Riboud said, according to GolfChannel.com’s Will Gray. “Even if we have the Ryder Cup, it’s not a golf country. We don’t have the culture. I don’t care.”
— Golf Channel (@GolfChannel) September 13, 2018
On the professional level, Alexander Levy is the country’s top-ranked player at No. 88 in the world. Karine Icher, ranked No. 121 in the Rolex Rankings, is the only French woman inside the top-250 in the world.
Still, with the game’s biggest names descending upon Le Golf National in two weeks, including the most popular golfer on the planet, Tiger Woods, Riboud doesn’t believe even Woods can change the national outlook on the game.
“We need a (French) champion, that’s all,” Riboud said, according to the AP. “I think we need a project for the young French player to show we are a champion in the next five years. … We don’t have a golf culture, we have to build it.
“Perhaps you are surprised because personally, I think the Ryder Cup is not building or helping to reach the objective (of developing talent).
“The best ambassador for golf in France is going to the next French champion at the same level (as) Tiger Woods. Perhaps it’s crazy but that’s the thing we have to dream about. It’s a champion who is pushing the young people.”
The Ryder Cup takes place from Sept. 28-30 outside of Paris.