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VIRGINIA WATER, England (AP) — France will host the Ryder Cup for the first time in 2018 on Le Golf National course near Paris.The French bid was selected Tuesday over competition from rival candidates Spain, Portugal, Germany and the Netherlands.
“The decision … is a real honour for our country, the French Golf Federation and all the public and private partners who have supported the bid,” said Pascal Grizot, the head of the Ryder Cup commission at the French federation.
“Above all it is a huge accolade for all French golfers who have contributed to this project.”
It’s only the second time the biennial match between Europe and the United States will be played on mainland Europe. The first was in 1997, when the late Seve Ballesteros captained Europe to a single-point win at Valderrama in Spain.
With emotions running high after the death earlier this month of Ballesteros, a Ryder Cup great and five-time major champion, some believed the European Tour should honour his memory by awarding his country of birth the 2018 event.
But tournament organisers were impressed with a number of aspects of the French bid — particularly the course, the location and its logistical and transport plans.
Le Golf National, also the headquarters of the French Golf Federation outside Versailles, was the best-known course of the five under consideration. It has been the venue for all but two French Opens in the last 20 years.
There was strong backing for the 2018 Ryder Cup by the French government, with President Nicolas Sarkozy making it a priority among French sports this decade along with European Championship soccer in 2016 and a Winter Olympics in 2018, with Annecy one of the three bidders.
“This new success showcases all the French expertise in organising the biggest international competitions,” said Charles Beigbeder, leader of the Annecy Olympic bid. “It enhances France’s capacity to host big events and contributes to the influence of French athletes and sport in general. We hope the same success for Annecy 2018 on July 6 in Durban.”
To fund the French bid, every registered golfer in the country has donated one euro to the cause.
organisers believe hosting the Ryder Cup will boost the development of golf in France, and the hope is to increase the number of registered players in the country from 400,000 to 700,000 by 2022. The French also want three French players on Europe’s Ryder Cup team by 2022.
Germany’s bid was the Audi Course, near Munich, the Netherlands’ at Spijk near Gorinchem, while Portugal’s was at the Herade da Comporta Golf Resort near Lisbon.