A leading French golf administrator has totally dismissed the notion that the 2018 Ryder Cup will have a positive effect on the country.
Speaking ahead of the Evian Championship, the final women’s major of the year, Franck Riboud – the chairman of that tournament and also of the Danone Group – believes ‘nothing’ will happen in the country once the biennial match has been and gone.
“I'm going to be very nasty with my country,” he began. “My country is not a golf country. Even if we have the Ryder Cup, it's not a golf country. We don't have the culture.
“After the Ryder Cup? I don't know. Nothing [will happen]. What should happen? I think we need a project for the young French player to be sure we will have a champion within five years. We have to target that. Okay, within five or ten years.”
Asked in his press conference whether the participation of Tiger Woods could be the best ambassador for golf in France, given that he is teeing it up in his first Ryder Cup for six years, Riboud was similarly dismissive.
“No, the best ambassador of golf in France is going to be the next French champion at the same level of Tiger Woods.
“Perhaps it's crazy, but that's the thing we have to dream about it. It could be whatever you want. We just finished 38th in the World Amateur Team Championship [men’s], 20th with the ladies. See? Question mark. We need the kids to dream about a French player.”
Riboud’s comments echo those of French tour players Mike Lorenzo-Vera and Sebastien Gros, who were scathing in their assessment of how the sport is perceived in their home country.