Céline Poitier and the tricolor in search of light

Lacoste Ladies Open-de-France left Médoc to sail to the Normandy coast in 2022. Over the course of three days, 108 players walked at the Barriere Golf Course in Deauville under the title of defending champion Céline Potier. The French climbed this week to the fourteenthe global place. Men and women alike, no one has ever done better in France.

The rise of the 28-year-old Hauts-de-Seine player was a bonus. Believing that the European circuit didn’t offer enough potential (few championships, bad talent), she left to take her lessons across the Atlantic, at Duke University, in the northwestern United States, in 2012 Since then, times have changed but the dream of female golfers still collides With the reality of women’s sports between lack of interest and vision.

Following the image of an elite male sport sticking to its skin, golf – the fourth most licensed individual sport in France – creates few champions in France, the women’s circuit even less. In France, they are a handful of those who took the lead. Of the 240 professional golfers who are members of the Associated Professional Golfers Association (PGA), only 25 are women.

Nine times less gift

at launch, “We wonder if we can really succeed because sometimes we feel like it’s a different and inaccessible world”Céline Poitier confirms. “When you move from amateur mode to professional level, you have to start from scratch. Find a team, prepare for the different costs of the season, find partners »Explains Ann Lise Caudall. Since 2006, the 38-year-old, with a singing accent, has spent ten years of her self-financed career before signing with long-term partners. Negotiations are often difficult. “What can a company gain if it is not advertised? Apart from putting a logo on a hat, bag or polo shirt, it is difficult to give anything to them. Especially when you are young, you don’t know how it goes”she completes.

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Without financial help from partners, some golfers are forced to ignore competitions. Because tournament prizes alone are rarely enough. “When you add up the fees and see what you can earn by playing, there is little chance of beating a tie at the end of the year if you are not ranking high enough.”Eric Doinell, chair of the PGA France Steering Committee, analyzes.

In Deauville this weekend, the best players will share €325,000. This is, of course, an increase of 25,000 euros compared to the 2021 edition, but the prize pool is still nine times less than the men’s championship. From September 22-25, the men’s French Open will offer three million euros for the top ranking.

The observation made by some decided to join the United States. “Because American universities are perfectly organized and prepare students in a rigorous way for the professional world”slips Yves Picchu, president of PGA France. And because endowments are more importantEric Doinell adds.

Agreement with the American Department

This is the choice made by 16-year-old Constance Foyer. The teen – already a triple champion of France, twice in the U12s and one who was the youngest – began surfing with her parents on the golf course. Passionate about football, he quickly switched to the little white ball game. Classes and competitions are related to each other. results with. “I couldn’t live without it, it almost became an addiction”, as you say. Two years after receiving her baccalaureate, Constance Foyer will travel to the United States. Objectives: To get acquainted with this new world, its methods, its fierce opponents, and the integration of the American circle. If she confirms her pride “to have a rooster on the shirt”She also recognized that American culture offers more possibilities to accompany female golfers. And so you’ll follow in the footsteps of the heroes she admires: American Nelly Korda, Sweden’s Annika Sorenstam And Celine Pottier of course!

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But leaving Europe is not always the answer. “In America the course prepares girls for the high level of course, but this type of course is not for everyone. You have to find your credit first.Ann-Liz Caudall warns. For players, the Old Continent has also gained traction thanks to the partnership signed in 2019 between the European Women’s Circuit (LET) and the American circuit (LGPA). Convention aimed at strengthening the rights of the global media to discipline.

For Céline Poitier, media coverage of women’s golf is the key to launching a true democracy in the field. “We need a lot of coverage in magazines or on TV, The French say. We should also see more girls in the LGPA who succeed in encouraging people to take an interest in our sport, want to play it and develop at a high level. »

An exemplary role that Celine Petit refuses to play at the moment. “It’s a bit early. I feel like I’m at the beginning of my career and I don’t feel like I can lead by example. I hope to be able to be in the future. This means that my career has been successful.” Conclude with a smile.

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