Open de France back on European Tour schedule behind closed doors


Last year’s event at Le Golf National, which hosted the 2018 Ryder Cup, was pulled due to the Covid-19 pandemic but is back on the schedule for early May; competition will be the fourth tournament in a five-week stretch on European soil.

Last Updated: 01/02/21 4:25pm

Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts won the 2019 version of the Open de France – beating Denmark’s Joachim B. Hansen by one stroke

The Open de France will return to the European Tour this year but will almost certainly be played behind closed doors.

Last year’s event at Le Golf National, which hosted the 2018 Ryder Cup, was pulled due to the Covid-19 pandemic but is back on the schedule for early May.

However, due to current restrictions in France, the tournament will go ahead without spectators.

“We have challenges but we will abide by all the regulations, working with the French Government and Ministry of Health to play in a restricted health and safety environment for all our players, caddies and staff,” said European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley.

“I can, with a great deal of confidence, say we have a comprehensive medical strategy which has worked and we are incredibly proud of 24,000 PCR tests with seven positives.

“But at this present time, our plan is behind closed doors without fans.”

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The £1.3m Open de France will be the fourth tournament in a five-week stretch on European soil between the Masters and US PGA Championship, joining the Tenerife Open, Gran Canaria Open, Portugal Masters and British Masters.

Although the event, which will have Frenchman Gregory Havret as its first host, does not yet have a title sponsor Pelley denied it would make continental Europe’s oldest national Open “low-cost”.

“This is all about rebuilding it. We don’t have a title partner but it is a tournament with rich history. This is the start of a new era for golf in France and the European Tour,” he added.

Havret, joint fifth on the all-time list of most successful French players on the European Tour, called on his country to get behind the event.

“We are known in France for criticism, we always have something to criticise,” he said.

“What the European Tour is doing this year is something fantastic and if the French media doesn’t support the French Open and the European Tour as they have done it will be something I personally wouldn’t appreciate.”

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