The European Tour and the Fédération Française de Golf (FFG) today announced the Open de France will return to Le Golf National from May 6-9, 2021, with Grégory Havret becoming first tournament host in the event’s illustrious history.
Continental Europe’s oldest national Open, first played in 1906, returns to the European Tour’s International Schedule after being cancelled in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Like other tournaments on the 2021 Race to Dubai, the Open de France will be played under the auspices of the European Tour’s health strategy which will continue to evolve in line with French Government guidance. The European Tour and the Fédération Française de Golf acknowledge the recent changes to travel in and out of the country, and will continue regular dialogue with the French authorities, with the intention of staging the event without general admission in May.
It will be the fourth tournament in a five-week spring stretch on European soil between the first two Major Championships of 2021 – the Masters Tournament and US PGA Championship – the Open de France joining the Tenerife Open, Gran Canaria Open, Portugal Masters and Betfred British Masters hosted by Danny Willett.
Like the latter event, the Open de France will also have a tournament host this year, with three-time European Tour winner Havret becoming the first player to take on the ambassadorial role.
Havret is joint fifth on the all-time list of most successful French players on the European Tour and he finished runner up in the 2010 US Open at Pebble Beach, one shot behind winner Graeme McDowell.
He will be joined at Le Golf National by France’s current crop of exciting European Tour players led by Victor Perez, the World Number 35, who is currently inside the automatic qualifying spots for Padraig Harrington’s European Ryder Cup team bound for Whistling Straits in September.
Alongside Perez will be three winners from 2020 – Joël Stalter, Antoine Rozner and Romain Langasque – who are confirmed as part of a strong French contingent at May’s tournament, along with Victor Dubuisson, Benjamin Hebert, Mattieu Pavon, Julien Guerrier, Raphaël Jacquelin, Alex Levy, Mike Lorenzo Vera and Robin Roussel.
The 2021 Open de France, which will have a prize fund of €1.5million, will be the 104th edition of the tournament and the 19th consecutive to be played at Le Golf National, the venue which also hosted The 2018 Ryder Cup when Europe defeated the United States by 17½-10½.
Ryder Cup players have dominated the tournament’s recent history, with 2019 winner Nicolas Colsaerts following in the footsteps of Alex Noren (2018) and Tommy Fleetwood (2017).
They joined an impressive list of former champions which includes Major winners Seve Ballesteros, Sir Nick Faldo, Retief Goosen, Bernhard Langer, Sandy Lyle, Martin Kaymer, Graeme McDowell, Greg Norman and José María Olazábal since the inception of the European Tour in 1972.
The return of the Open de France to a May slot in the golfing calendar rekindles many of these memories, with the tournament previously played in that month from 1973 to 1984 and from 1999 to 2002.
Keith Pelley, European Tour Chief Executive, said: “The Open de France is one of our most historic tournaments and Le Golf National is one of the leading venues in Europe, so we are delighted to confirm that both will feature as part of our schedule this year.
“As well as being part of a travel-friendly run in Europe at that time of the year, the tournament also helps us celebrate the wonderful heritage of the national Opens on the European Tour.
“I’ve often said, the support of each country’s leading players is key to the success of national Opens. We’ve seen many times over the years, including at the Open de France, how the presence of a home player on a leaderboard can have a profound impact on a tournament. It is therefore terrific to see such strong commitment from the leading French players for this year’s tournament, and we look forward to showcasing their considerable talents in May.
“We are also looking forward to working with Pascal Grizot and the Fédération Française de Golf, as well as tournament host Grégory Havret, to add another chapter to the proud tradition of the Open de France.”
Pascal Grizot, President of the Fédération Française de Golf (FFG), said: “On behalf of the FFGolf and all the French golfers, I warmly thank the European Tour for the support brought to the 2021 edition of our Open. After such a difficult year, this comeback of the Open de France on the international schedule is a first step in our common effort to lay the groundworks of a greater future for this historical tournament. I am very keen to keep on working with Keith Pelley and his staff to give to the Open de France a global sporting reach in the years to come.
“The Albatros remains a real golf test for European Tour players as well as for the World Amateur Team Championships 2022 and the Olympics 2024.”
Grégory Havret said: “The Open de France means so much not only to golf fans in France but also to all of the French players, as shown by the commitment made today by so many of my fellow professionals to the event. We are all delighted it will be returning to Le Golf National this May. Personally, I am very honoured to be named as the first host in the tournament’s proud history, and I am looking forward to working with Keith and Pascal, along with their respective teams, to make this year’s event a big success.”
Victor Perez said: “The Open de France is an event the French players are proud of and we all really look forward to it, so it’s great to see it return to the European Tour schedule in 2021. Le Golf National is one of the best venues we have in Europe and I’m really looking forward to supporting the tournament. We would obviously love to have fans there to be part of it too, but we are all just grateful to be able to play the Open de France again this year.”