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Ryder Cup: A case of French indigestion

by Robert Green

October 29, 2018

Further to my blog three of weeks ago about the all-American hangover from the recent Ryder Cup match in Versailles, including an alleged physical spat between American team-mates Brooks Koepka (the current world No. 1) and Dustin Johnson (the former world No. 1), the French have an aftermath attitude of their own.

Ryder Cup: A case of French indigestion, © Matthew Harris / TGPL

- Matthew Harris / TGPL

Three days after the match ended, the weekly satirical magazine Le Canard enchainé (think of it as their version of Private Eye) published a story under the headline ‘Au fond du golf pas très clair’, which roughly means ‘When you get to the bottom of it nothing about golf is clear’. The article pointed out that it had cost the country around €42 million to stage what a French friend of mine called “a British event in Paris”. (Even the catering came from the UK.) Sure, the grandstands were packed but mostly for the benefit of foreigners – “Les rosbifs sont venus en nombre. Les Français, moins.” Which you’ll probably get means the British came in their numbers but the French less so. Oh well, c’est la vie. Maybe the event will have inspired thousands of French kids to take up the game and the results of that will be seen a decade or two down la rue.

Of course, it was not only that the French were outnumbered by the Brits. There wasn’t a home player on the European team. This wasn’t supposed to be the case when Victor Dubuisson won two and a half points from the three he contested in the previous match to be played in Europe, at Gleneagles in 2014. For the formerly 15th best player in the world, the trajectory then seemed to be certain to be unremittingly upwards. Instead, in the year he was tagged to be the host country’s star player in the biggest team golf competition on the planet, he made certain he wouldn’t be taking part by only playing one tournament in the whole of this year, at least so far: the Spanish Open in April, where he missed the cut.

In a piece in the Daily Telegraph last week, James Corrigan suggested Dubuisson may resurface at the Hong Kong Open next month, resurfacing being a somewhat appropriate word given that he has long been reputed to prefer fishing to golfing and a video posted a few days ago by one of his sponsors showed him indeed hitting golf balls but doing so into the sea off the back of a yacht. Corrigan also brought up the story that at the 2015 French Open, also played at Le Golf National, Dubuisson reputedly threatened to withdraw if the sponsors did not remove his image from a promotional billboard for the tournament. All considered, the likelihood may be that the last thing Victor wanted was to be the poster boy for this Ryder Cup, victorious as the Europeans proved to be. It seems he’ll probably carry on playing professional golf but only on his terms, which will be as publicity-free as it’s possible to be.

Still, if he had played in the match last month, the writer at Le Canard may have had a little less of a beef about les rosbifs.

You can follow me on Twitter @robrtgreen and also on my other blog: f-factors.com