x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Heart strings aside, France right call for Ryder Cup

The Ryder Cup committee made the right call in naming France ahead of Spain, despite the sympathy over the death of Seve Ballesteros which could have swayed the vote in their favour.

Golf is perhaps the most sentimental of sports, so it was refreshing to see the European Tour opt out of takingthe 2018 Ryder Cup to Spain. In many ways, this would have been an easy decision.

After all, in the public outpouring of grief following the death of Seve Ballesteros, who would have begrudged Madrid a winning bid? That would have been an understandable move but the wrong one.

It was another mainland European country's turn: France.

The Ryder Cup, with all its financial implications, is too important an event to be played at a venue simply because it would have been viewed as a nice way to remember one of their own.

Many were convinced the European Tour would give the nod to Spain because it would be a good public relations move.

George O'Grady, the Tour chief executive, and his team deserve praise for this decision, although they may not have so many friends in 2018, as Paris's Le Golf National is a tough course. The Americans who have not played it probably won't quite believe what an unforgiving place it can be.

As one European Tour player once said: "It's the only place where the rough actually reaches out for your ball and drags it off the fairway."

 

ncameron@thenational.ae