Disneyland Paris has been selected to host The 2018 Junior Ryder Cup after being nominated by the Fédération Française de Golf (FFG) with the full endorsement of Ryder Cup Europe, and the European Golf Association (EGA). To celebrate it, the 12 youngsters who will participate to the 2014 contest enjoyed a day of fun and celebration in the world-famous theme park.
Pascal Grizot, Vice President of the French Golf Federation and Chairman of Ryder Cup France 2018, Colin Wood, President of the EGA, Thierry Pedros, Vice President Strategic Alliances at Disneyland Paris and Scott Kelly, Marketing Director of Ryder Cup Europe, were all present at the spectacular Disneyland Paris Golf, next to the theme park, for the announcement.
Disneyland Paris was considered by all parties to be the ideal venue to host the Junior Ryder Cup in 2018. The site offers a prestigious Championship golf course, which has already proved its pedigree through hosting major events, including a European Challenge Tour event back in 1993, which was incidentally won by five-time Major winner Phil Mickelson of the USA, before he went on to become one of the most famous names in the game. In 2011 Golf Disneyland Paris also hosted another Challenge Tour event, the Challenge de France.
The resort has outstanding support facilities and is situated 60 kilometres from Le Golf National, the host venue of the 2018 Ryder Cup, which takes place later the same week as France hosts the biggest team event in world golf for the first time in its history.
The venue, located east of the French capital on the grounds of Disneyland Paris – which attracts approximately 15 million visits per year – will add to the family-orientated atmosphere of a tournament which was established as an international showcase for golf’s next generation and to acknowledge the work of the different Federations in developing their youth programmes.
The venue also fits perfectly with the Legacy programme of the French Golf Federation (FFG), as the country looks to use the high profile of The Ryder Cup and the Junior Ryder Cup as a catalyst to spread the game to children across the country and find the next Victor Dubuisson, himself a former Junior Ryder Cup player at Gleneagles in 2010.
Indeed, five players playing in The 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles in Scotland next week have played Junior Ryder Cup en route to the top – Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia and Dubuisson from Paul McGinley’s European team as well as the USA’s Jordan Speith and Hunter Mahan – while Carlota Ciganda, Suzann Peterssen (Europe) and Lexi Thompson (USA) all played in the 2013 Solheim Cup.
The 12 stars of the European team for The 2014 Junior Ryder Cup also attended the announcement along with non-playing Captain Stuart Wilson, having spent the afternoon roaming the grounds of the theme park on the eve of their battle with the USA at The Blairgowrie Golf Club in Scotland, from Monday September 22 to Tuesday September 23.
To add to the excitement, the European Captain to succeed Wilson for the 2016 and 2018 editions of the Junior matches was also announced, with Maitena Delamontagna earning the honour of taking over the reins ahead of the USA’s hosting in two years’ time before leading the lines on home soil at Disneyland.
Richard Hills, Ryder Cup Director said: “This is an historic day for the development of the Ryder Cup, Junior Ryder Cup and European golf. The French Golf Federation and Disneyland Paris both present unique assets, as well top quality entertaining activities. This is an opportunity to seize if we wish to develop golf in France, in Europe and throughout the world.”
Pascal Grizot, Vice President of the French Golf Federation and Chairman of Ryder Cup France 2018, said: “Paris and the Ile de France region will give us the unique opportunity to turn the 2018 edition into the most beautiful in the history of The Ryder Cup. We will offer all the fans an exceptional experience. By hosting the Junior Ryder Cup, Disneyland Paris will greatly contribute to kick off an unforgettable week. This Junior Ryder Cup will also allow a great number of young persons to come discover the best players in junior golf in a venue that makes children dream all year long.
“This is going to be a huge golf celebration like France has never seen before. I am very excited that the event will start at Disneyland Paris with the Junior Ryder Cup,” said Colin Wood, President EGA said. “I am delighted with FFG’s vision for the event, a collective push for golf in Europe with such a European attraction.
“It is also a great honour to announce our next European Team Captain here this week. Stuart has done a superb job in the last four years leading the lines for our young stars and I’m sure Maitena will represent the flag of Europe with great pride and accomplishment in the next four years.”
Thierry Pedros, Vice President Strategic Alliances at Disneyland Paris, is honoured to welcome such a well-known event. He said: “We are very proud to host the 2018 Junior Ryder Cup. This event is not only the perfect opportunity to bring together an interest in golf and family entertainment, but will also highlight Disneyland Paris know-how as a host of major sports events.”
The Junior Ryder Cup is a biennial contest played between two teams of six boys and six girls under the age of 18, representing Europe and America.
The event also celebrates the impressive development work which takes place at grassroots level by youngsters and their families, volunteers, PGA professionals, clubs and governing bodies, on both sides of the Atlantic.
The 2014 edition will take place at The Blairgowrie Golf Club from September 22-23, when Stuart Wilson’s European team will take on Brian Whitcomb’s USA team. The latter will endeavour to keep the trophy they won in 2012, by scoring 14½-9½ at Olympia Fields in Chicago.
Former Junior Ryder Cup players (* denotes Ryder Cup or Solheim Cup players):-
Dewi Claire Schreefel