France views bid for ’18 Ryder Cup as building block

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – The history of French golf is a short story.

Start with Arnaud Massy, the 1907 British Open champion, steel yourself for Jean Van de Velde’s watery nightmare in the Barry Burn at Carnoustie at the ’99 Open, mention Gregory Havret’s spirited runner-up at last summer’s U.S. Open and you’ve got the outline.

But Pascal Grizot wants a new chapter for French golf: the 2018 Ryder Cup.

“Nobody knows, but we won the world championship,’’ said Grizot, chairman of the French Ryder Cup Committee, citing the French boys’ winning of the Eisenhower Trophy at the 2010 World Team Championship, where the French girls placed third. He points to rising stars Victor Dubuisson, Alexandre Kaleka and Romain Wattel as potential members of that 2018 team.

Golf National in Paris, host to the French Open, is a popular stop on the European Tour and a potential Ryder Cup site.

Germany, Netherlands, Portugal and Spain also are bidding for the biennial event. The winner is expected to be announced May 17.

If France were to host the cup, Grizot anticipates a course-building boom.

“The French federation and France want the Ryder Cup to develop golf,” said Grizot, who retired after selling a chain of grocery stores. “We have 400,000 golfers in France, and we think that at the end of 2018 we could double this number. So it’s a huge importance for France to have the Ryder Cup.”

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