The Ryder Cup heads to Le Golf National outside of Paris in September, but according to one pro, French golf is in a dire place.
The New York Times published an interview with French pro Michael Lorenzo-Vera on Tuesday. While Lorenzo-Vera is excited for the Ryder Cup, he had only bad things to say about the game of golf and its reputation in his home country.
"Golf is not a good thing here. It's for rich people and spoiled kids. That's the image we have," Lorenzo-Vera told the Times. "Golf is a very private thing for people in France. Private courses for only rich families or rich people — that's it."
But surely some excitement is building for the arrival of one of the game's premier events this year? Not so, says Lorenzo-Vera. "People don't care about the Ryder Cup. Honestly, nobody knows there's going to be a Ryder Cup in France. Only the golfers know. That's it. There won't be many French there."
Aside from the country having "only one competitive golf course," Lorenzo-Vera attributes the lack of successful golfers in France to a general societal attitude that is preventing golfers from reaching their full potential.
French golfers "push too hard and complain. We get angry and swear, " he said, adding that "the French player typically doesn't putt very well, either." Instead of crafting a natural and effective (though ugly) golf swing a la Jim Furyk, he claims French golfers just “want to always look good."
Lorenzo-Vera then sums up his harsh assessment, identifying the root cause for the country's failures in the game: "the French education points out the negative things instead of pushing hard on the positive things. It brings you down mentally. This is why we don't have any big champions."
It sounds like the game of golf has not taken hold in France, and it's unlikely it ever will. Which begs the question, why exactly is the Ryder Cup going there anyway?
You can read the full interview (and it's well worth the read) over at NYTimes.com.