Euorpean Ryder Cup Committee Plays It Safe, Headed to France

Todd PatakyCorrespondent IMay 17, 2011

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FL - MAY 11:  The flag of Spain flies at half-mast to commemorate the passing of golfer Seve Ballesteros as seen during a practice round prior to the start of THE PLAYERS Championship held at THE PLAYERS Stadium course at TPC Sawgrass on May 11, 2011 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

It was announced by the European Ryder Cup committee that the 2018 Ryder Cup will be played in shadow of the Eiffel Tower, as opposed to within the much larger golf shadow of Seve Ballesteros.

Spain was in the running to host the biannual event, along with Germany, Portugal and the Netherlands, but the committee saw fit to take one of the most popular events in the sport to France.

Of the selection of the Le Golf National course near Paris, George O'Grady, chief executive of the European Tour, said, "We're leaving nothing to chance on building a new course. You could say, in that sense, we've gone for the certainty," according to USA Today.

You see, if Spain (as well as Germany or Portugal) had been chosen, they would have had to begin construction of the golf course now. Only France and the Netherlands had already built courses as part of their bid submission.

So, the European Tour played it safe, and by doing so, provided a shining example of how they simply did not understand the greatness of their own Spanish legend.

It's not hard to imagine Seve, if he were alive, pulling himself from his deathbed to call the European Tour and blast them for having the nerve not to pick Spain, even without a course in place.

Playing it safe certainly wasn't the way Ballesteros played the game, and it wasn't the way he won five majors. It wasn't the way he, along with a few other Hall of Famers, converted the Ryder Cup from a three-day laugh-a-thon dominated by the Americans, into one of the most dramatic events in golf.

Without Seve, the Ryder Cup might never have been as popular as it is. There would have never been a "Spanish Armada" of golf if Seve had not been around to mentor Spanish players like Jose Maria Olazabal and Sergio Garcia.

Not to take anything away from the grand tradition of French golfers throughout history, but even their most famous player, Jean Van de Veld, is famous because he went for it when he had no reason to do so!

The European Tour has said they may change their logo to incorporate the image of the iconic Spanish player. That announcement was made before they announced their selection of France as the site for the 2018 Ryder Cup.

One has to question the timing of this announcement. If they were so sure they had made the proper selection, why did the committee seek to temper criticism of what they knew would be a very unpopular pick?

The Ryder Cup owes this man his day in the sun as soon as it can be made to happen. What better way to honor the memory of one of the finest players in Ryder Cup history, in golf history, than to take the event to the nation of his birth?

It's all very simple. The European Ryder Cup committee had a choice. They could either lay up or they could go for the green.

Way to play it safe.