Le Golf National is the Star of the Show
THE star of the show at the Open de France was the Golf National course, which will host the Ryder Cup in September. It is an incredibly tough venue, with plenty of demanding holes. It provides plenty of natural viewing areas for fans and offers the severest of tests of shot-making.
It was a surprise that only one member of the American team bothered to make the trip to play in the Open de France. And it is something they may come to regret because this is a layout where familiarity most certainly helps.
Justin Thomas, the World No. 2, was the sole American in the field. What he has to tell his captain, Jim Furyk, will no doubt be secret but from what Thomas has already said it is not hard to surmise the burden of it.
Thomas will tell Furyk that Golf National is certain to witness huge amounts of drama. It is a course that has everything - long par fours, par fours where players will be tempted to go for the green, magnificent par fives. And water. Lots of water.
The good news is that it’s a great course, immaculately set up, very difficult but fair. It’s a championship course that could easily host a major. The bad news is that it’s unlike any course in America and totally different to the way the Americans set up the course at Hazeltine for the last match.
The fairways are narrow, the rough is wild and it’s not a bombers’ track. You have to plot your way around and you must hit the fairways. Thomas played well but never looked like winning and he will tell Furyk that that if any of the Americans are not at the peak of their form then they will struggle.
A host of Ryder Cup hopefuls came a cropper over the four days, with several missing the cut and others being made to look just plain ordinary. On Friday, Ian Poulter came a cropper on the 15th, going from rough to water for a double-bogey. Julian Suri finished in the drink at the 18th in the final round, costing him a chance of victory, and Marcus Kinhult, looking for his maiden European Tour win, also came to grief.
This is a venue built for drama and it is a racing certainty that when the chips are really down come September, somebody will find the water at the 18th - and the outcome of the Ryder Cup could depend upon it.
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