Damien Kayat previews the 2022 edition of the DP World Tour’s Open de France set to take place at Le Golf National.
2021/2022 DP World Tour
Open de France
Le Golf National, Paris, France
Robert Macintyre finally delivered on his mammoth potential with a wonderful performance in Italy last week. Luke Donald will have been thrilled with the way Macintyre held off the respective charges of Rory McIlroy and Matthew Fitzpatrick.
It would appear that European golf already has a player fit for purpose to replace those LIV Golf rebels. Here’s to hoping that this year’s edition of the Open de France can come close to matching the drama of both the BMW PGA Championship and Italian Open.
This is actually the oldest national golfing tournament held in continental Europe. Frances Arnaus Massey- winner of the 1907 Open Championship- won the first two editions staged back in 1906 and 1907.
A mainstay on the tour for 50 years, this year’s Open de France offers another opportunity for those desperately fighting for Ryder Cup qualification. And could you think of a more fitting venue than the site of Europe’s last glorious victory: Le Golf National?
Le Golf National
Designed by Hubert Chesneau and Robert Van Hagge, Le Golf National was only opened as recently as 1990. It is a stadium-style course that underwent significant changes ahead of the 2018 Ryder Cup.
It is an exposed, linksy style layout that hugely frustrated the American bombers in 2018. Phil Mickelson was left bemoaning the fact that you could be punished for errant drives in golf. The cheek of it.
Just remember the way that Moli-Wood destroyed the Americans with their persistent fairway-finding. It is certainly imperative that you find fairways this week. Also, nine of the last 15 winners have ranked inside the top 15 for GIR.
Even more crucially, the top scrambler has placed at Le Golf National in 14 of the last 17 editions. The Bentgrass greens run at around 12 on the stimp and require a deft touch. It really is a true test of precision-based golf and it is also a course that rewards familiarity.
Patrick Reed leads the markets this week after several weeks of success. The LIV Golf operator is obviously here to gather precious world ranking points. He almost defiled the entire mood of the DP World Tour with a rollicking finish in the BMW PGA Championship.
But how is he going to fare after four weeks of transatlantic flight? Thomas Pieters has fizzled out somewhat since an electrifying start to the year. Robert Macintyre demonstrated last week how he is able to expertly manipulate the ball around challenging golf courses.
Elsewhere, I will be paying special attention to how Ryan Fox responds to his ludicrous exclusion from this week’s President’s Cup team. Sure, the field may look significantly diminished this week. But Ryder Cup qualification has added a healthy dose of tension to all these European outings.
2021: event cancelled due to Covid
2020: event cancelled due to Covid
2019: Nicolas Colsaerts (-12)
2018: Alex Noren (-7)
2017: Tommy Fleetwood (-12)
2016: Thongchai Jaidee (-11)
2015: Bernd Wiesberger (-13)
To Win Outright:
Patrick Reed 11/1 | Thomas Pieters 16/1 | Victor Perez 20/1 | Robert Macintyre 20/1 | Jordan Smith 22/1
Ewen Ferguson- To Win 45/1 | To Place 19/2
45/1 just looks too inviting for a man who only recently demonstrated his propensity to win. Sure, he is a slightly mercurial talent. His last four events have included two missed cuts, a runner-up finish in Denmark and a second DP World Tour title at the ISPS Handa Invitational. But he clearly has the ability to compete when his game fires. Though this is his debut, he should find Le Golf National to his liking. He won the Qatar Masters on a similarly exposed, linksy layout. He also finished 12th at Celtic Manor on debut. I think he could just be the next man to really throw his hat into the Ryder Cup mix.
The Man to Beat- Ryan Fox- To Win 30/1 |To Place 13/2
Ryan Fox is one of only four players in action this week who ranks inside the top 50 in the world rankings. He will be absolutely devastated that he missed out on Quail Hollow this year. He was arguably the most consistent player in Europe this season and his power could have proved invaluable to Trevor Immelmann. He has said that he wants to use this as an opportunity to leave the South African second-guessing his decision. Fox won earlier this year in the Middle East and came within a whisker of claiming the Dutch Open title. Sure, his form plateaued in recent weeks. But he was forced to withdraw from Wentworth with a little niggle. He probably felt reasonably assured of selection. He was 18th here on debut three years back and I expect him to come out smoking this week. 30/1 looks ridiculous in this fairly patchy field.