Curse of the Ryder Cup? The iconic venues overlooked on the golfing calendar

21/11/2019

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From Iain Carter
BBC golf correspondent
What is the long term legacy, although they point the largest golf events in Europe? Do they vanish from significance after being center of the golf world, shortly?
All these are questions worth thinking about from the week which Le Golf National plays host to the French Open for the first time since the continents thumping victory over the USA just over a year ago.
1 thing is for certain, this functioning of this national Open in continental Europe will not be as grand as the French Opens that preceded the 2018 Ryder Cup.
The tournament has been shifted by a prime position in the schedule at the end of June and its now worth only #1.4m compared with the #5.6m handbag that was played for last year.
Make no mistake, there will be golf on show. The scramble to maintain trades qualify for the Rush is intensifying.
Along with the likes of Martin Kaymer, Jose Maria Olazabal, Thomas Bjorn and Jamie Donaldson include some stardust.
But if Alex Noren won 15 weeks back he beat a field that included defending champion Tommy Fleetwood giants Jon Rahm along with Sergio Garcia, US celebrity Justin Thomas and Ryder Cup stalwart Ian Poulter.
This week Bjorn contributes to the spectacle of the tumultuous success of the team as one of the playing attractions instead of main strategist for an triumph.
That 171/2-101/2 triumph created scenes and lifelong memories to inspire future generations. The course – setup perfectly to suit the home team – and also the prime place near Paris and parts played in making a week for European golfing.
But it feels as though Le Golf National can follow venues that staged home matches for Europe into relative obscurity. Courses that were staples in the circuit have faded out of significance.
The Belfry hosted the Ryder Cup on four occasions between 1985 and 2002 and whatever you consider this program, which does have its critics, that the layout from the English midlands became a part of the fabric of European golfing history.
However, the Brabazon Course has not staged a Tour event . Celtic Manor in south Wales vanished from the schedule in 2014, four years after its Ryder Cup.
The K Club, which hosted the 2006 match was the European Open between 1995 and 2007s home. As it maintained the Irish Open, it vanished from the calendar other.
Gleneagles staged the 2018 European Team Championships and this years Solheim Cup before putting onto the 2014 Ryder Cup, however its deal to maintain tour events expired the season.
Only Valderrama (1997 Ryder Cup) in southern Spain has remained a regular stop for the continents leading players in the aftermath of holding one of those biennial jousts between Europe and the United States.
Hence the portents are not great for Le Golf National, especially at a time when this French Opens worth has diminished.
Originally the French Federation signed a 12-year deal that would have obtained them through to 2022 using the championship being ensured to be worth at least of euros.
This happened together with the loss of sponsor Alstom, however, for 2016 a more profitable deal was gained by the European Tour with conglomerate HNA. The agreement worth 25m euros seemed to fasten the top-level standing of the event.
But that deal fell through leaving this historical tournament able to justify a spot in the tour of elite Rolex Series. So it stays in this October date detached.
The change of date is okay, the biggest tournaments should have the best dates, Pascal Grizot, president of Frances 2018 Ryder Cup committee, confessed to LEquipe this past year.
Nevertheless, the official questioned why the European Union did not do more to encourage the tournament. Why didnt they opt to aid the French Open and the federation because we had been exceptionally loyal for the Ryder Cup? He asked.
The simple answer comes down to money, like with many former Ryder Cup venues. There is cash generated to place these areas once the objective of staging the largest event of golf was satisfied, but it vanishes.
It may prove a similar story for Le Golf National. According to the program of next year that the French Open will move back to summer, but there is no word on which path will stage the tournament nor the size of its handbag.
Places resonate with golf lovers Gleneagles, K Club, Celtic Manor, The Belfry and potentially Le Golf National are not venues that have carved large regions in the folklore of the game.
They provide evidence that business reality leaves room for nurturing and preserving that golfing history.

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