France has confirmed its earlier declaration that it wants to stage the 2018 Ryder Cup between Europe and the United States. It joins Germany, Spain, Holland and Portugal challenging for the right to host one of the biggest events in sport. Sweden withdrew earlier this year because of lack of funding but aims to bid again in 2022.
Over the next three weeks a Bid Committee from Ryder Cup Europe will visit all five nations who have indicated that they will submit an official bid to stage the event in eight years time. Ryder Cup Director, Richard Hills, will be accompanied by David MacLaren, Ryder Cup 2018 Bid Coordinator and Edward Kitson, Ryder Cup Match Director on a whistle-stop tour of suggested venues.
Ryder Cup Europe plans to announce the successful candidate in April 2011.
Today in Paris, the French Golf Federation (Fédération Française de Golf, FFGolf) officially submitted its bid backed by the two French golfers to have represented Europe in the Ryder Cup - Jean Van de Velde and Thomas Levet.
The FFGolf has detailed its plans as to how they plan to use the Ryder Cup as a catalyst to grow the game in France and Europe with projects in place to double the number of golfers and open the sport from the grassroots upwards.
The French bid is bolstered by the Golf National course just outside Paris which has staged numerous French Opens with superb matchplay holes, the last three of which finish over water. The location allows for easy access for up to 70,000 spectators and its proximity to the capital ensures easy international travel.
It has also received unconditional backing from the French president Nicolas Sarkozy, who says: “The Ryder Cup is a legendary golf event and staging it on French soil would not only help enhance the value of France’s policy of hosting major sporting events, but would also play a part in developing the game in France. ”
Seve Ballesteros (52) has endorsed Spain's bid to stage the event in Madrid, while Lee Westwood and Darren Clarke are backing the bid of the Oceanico Victoria course in Portugal's Algarve, where they have properties.
Gerry Fagan, Oceanico Group Director, says: "We are putting the Ocenico Victoria golf course up as a contender to host the 2018 Ryder Cup. The accessibility, infrastructure and amenities in the Algarve makes for an ideal destination and the commitment from the National Tourism Board and the backing of the Portuguese government to bring the event to Portugal shows a great level of determination in making the Ryder Cup happen here."
Future Ryder Cup venues are: 2010 - The Celtic Manor Resort, Newport, Wales, from October 1-3; 2012 – Medinah Country Club, Medinah, Illinois, USA; 2014 – The Gleneagles Hotel, Perthshire, Scotland; 2016 – Hazeltine National GC, Chaska, Minnesota, USA and 2020 – Whistling Straits, Kohler, Wisconsin, USA.