With Amondi Evian, France presents itself as Europe’s only major golf tournament and campaigns for gender equality

Yealimi Noh plays Amundi Evian at Evian, a major tournament on the women’s calendar, on July 25, 2021.

Yealimi Noh plays Amundi Evian at Evian, a major tournament on the women's calendar, on July 25, 2021.

©Philippe Demazes/AFP

Atlantico Business

Until Sunday, the best golfers in the world meet in Evian. For the tournament that is today the best and which fights for equality between women and men in the world of sport in the coveted game of world golf.

As more and more golf champions of the world see a golden future on the side of Saudi Arabia and abandon Western courses, the women’s professional golf, along with Evian, has found a model of its own development capable of protecting the traditional and above all sporting values ​​of golf.

For nearly 20 years, all the great golfers in the world have dreamed of winning at Evian, and the new generation is no exception to this ambition. Along with many Asians, Americans and Europeans are back at the top table.

This year, at least three French women will be able to claim a performance on their roster, including Celine Bauter, who has been a huge hit in the American ring.

But this year, the Korda sisters should be dominating the game. The two daughters of the tennis champion who made Roland Garros cry over 30 years ago. Younger day Nelly, who was world number one two years ago, is back in the ring after being injured, in a bid to reclaim her title. In the meantime, it touches Americans with its strength and elegance, tempting Europeans and driving pastoralists crazy. Sunday evening, she can claim the coronation on the 18th greene Gap.

This golf tournament in Evian is a French invention that has revolutionized the golf scene and the practice of professional players.. She is also quietly involved in convincing young people that they can return to a sport that is still little practiced in France despite being the sport with the most licenses in the world.

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Created by Antoine Riboud, founder of the Danone Group, on his land in Evian (a subsidiary of the group), 28 years ago, this competition has always respected an initial desire: to develop the values ​​of women’s golf. There was a place to be taken in this sport, it was initially created by men and its practice was restricted to men at the biggest clubs in the world.

At that time, gender equality was not fashionable. So it took Frank Ribaud and Jack Bangert, who took command of the organization so quickly, a lot of determination, work and a little bit of recklessness to succeed in making this the number one championship in the world.

A place was needed, there was a balcony overlooking Lake Geneva, accommodation was needed in the Evian resort, and money was also needed from the patrons, who at that time preferred football or tennis.

Franck Ribaud earned the loyalty of the Danone Group and Evian Waters, which were set out to conquer international markets. This made it possible to impress other partners, in particular Rolex, which is historically the number one golf partner in the world.

Over the past two years, the Amundi Asset Management Group, one of the largest investment funds of French origin, has entered the game by relaying Danone, but with a desire to develop the values ​​held by Franck Riboud and Jacques Bungert.

The budget for this tournament is important but it will remain confidential, so there is no doubt to engage in a discussion about the numbers with the Americans or the Saudis who have invested in men’s golf.

But what we do know is that the ambition is to develop internationally while ensuring that the money goes to the players.

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Because in sports markets, the nerves of war are the players themselves. Success mainly comes from their talent and performance. So at Evian the participants are pampered. The contribution of the sponsors shall be direct. The price of money increased this year from $4.5 million to $6.5 million. The winner leaves the green on the last day with a profit of close to one million euros, but the other players have not forgotten, since then All registered players who will not pass the first players, i.e. the reduction, will nevertheless receive 2,500 euros, which is enough to finance part of their costs. It’s an innovation in women’s golf that has been implemented by the Big Five for women since this season.

The goal is obviously economic, but also athletic: to ensure that “girls” can play their sport and make a living from it, which is not so easy for many. To do this, you have to play a lot, so that the show and competition attract people and sponsors.

Breaking through the great French players in the international arena would have been unimaginable a few years ago. Today, Céline Poitier, Pauline Roussin-Bouchard, Perrin Delacour … they play locomotives with the French public and are clearly involved in the development of golf in France.

Because, contrary to popular belief, golf is not restricted to the elite. There are golf courses in France and many golf courses are not expensive to access.

As for the anecdote, thanks in part to the bankruptcy of Crédit Lyonnais, who invested a lot without making very serious business plans. consequences ; With the French taxpayer footing the bill for Crédit Lyonnais, the golf courses have been put out and players can now be accommodated. And children even if the school does not teach them to children. But that’s another discussion.

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