Despite a late surge of support for Spain, it is no surprise that France have won the right to stage the 2018 Ryder Cup.
The French bid, backed by government backing from president Nicolas Sarkozy, held off the popular call for the event to be staged in Spain in honour of Seve Ballesteros. But the European Tour are promising they will soon announce an alternative tribute to the golfing legend who died of cancer earlier this month.
“The 42nd Ryder Cup will be staged in Versailles, just outside Paris, at Le Golf National, which has been the venue for 18 of the last 20 French Open tournaments because the European Tour insist it was clearly the strongest bid. The biennial match has been played on the continent just once before, and that was in Spain in 1997 when Seve Ballesteros captained Europe to victory at Valderrama.
“There had been calls from the Ballesteros family to award the event to Spain in honour of the five-time major winner, who was patron of the Madrid bid. But European Tour chief executive George O’Grady insisted the decision to hand France the hosting rights ahead of Spain was not a missed opportunity to pay tribute to Ballesteros.
Said O’Grady: “It’s just at the moment that the French bid was outstanding on the guidelines we laid down. We have an announcement about Seve coming in the next few months which will seek to honour him. We feel for him. We feel for what he stood for but we’ve been aware of his terrible illness for quite some time.”
France have already secured hosting rights for the 2016 European football championships and they are bidding for the 2018 Winter Olympics.