Good news for French professional golfers: the title of French champion, missing for more than 10 years, is making a comeback and will be awarded at the Médoc golf course in mid-June. At the origin of this rebirth, the Kalika Conseil company chaired by Bernard Pascassio and directed by Denis Fabre, accompanied by its partner MCA, home builders.
The Fédé and the PGA have given the green light to this initiative that will bring together 90 French players from June 15 to 18 at the Golf du Médoc ResortDirected by Vincent Paris, also partner of Kalika Conseil. Naturally, it is the wonderful Châteaux course designed by Bill Coore that will serve as the setting for this French Championship for Professionals.
All the players present will be French: ten years later gary’s stall he had won in Hossegor, the winner will be crowned Champion of France and will raise the Jean Garaialde Trophy, of the name of the greatest French champion who should be present in the Médoc.
The French Champion will then wear the colors blue, white, red which, as in other sports, will remind us, for a whole year, that he is the French number 1 in golf.
The overall endowment amounts to 150,000 euros.
Finally, remember that this French championship was created 111 years ago!
Create a tournament for the French and revive the title of Champion of France
Bernard Pascassio told Golf Planète why he decided to relaunch this French championship
Golf Planète: After a break of 10 years, Kalika has decided to regain the title of the French professional golf championship. Why this idea? To what extent are the PGA and the Federation involved?
Bernardo Pascasio : The will of our partner, the MCA company, was to favor French golf professionals and create a tournament for them. From then on, we approached the French Golf Federation to see what we could imagine together. The fact of handing over the title of professional champion of France left vacant for more than 10 years was imposed quite quickly and naturally. The FFGolf Professional Commission made up of members of PGA France has given its agreement.
I am Basque, French and European. As a Frenchman, I wanted to do something for my country, in particular by promoting a competition that brings together our French players and allows our young champions to express themselves alongside their elders, as the Schweppes competition did at the time.
I immediately got the support of professionals like Raphael Jacquelin and many young professionals.
What is the format chosen for the re-launch of this French Championship for Professionals?
The tournament is aimed at French players.
Format: 72 stroke play holes / 18 holes per day in 4 rounds with court after 2 rounds (40 players and tied).
The field will be limited to 90 eligible players in the following order:
– 40 players in the order of the Final National Ranking 2021.
– 25 players in the order of the National Ranking published on Monday, May 30, 2022, not otherwise exempt.
– 20 invitations.
– 5 amateurs in the Order of Merit Knights of June 2, 2022, within the limit of the Top 30.
The endowment amounts to 150,000 euros. Enrollment at 300 euros all inclusive.
Why was the Médoc golf course chosen for this first edition? And how was your first private partner chosen?
The Golf du Médoc Resort, for which I am particularly fond for having taken the initiative in the early 1990s, is a site that lends itself particularly well to the organization of amateur and professional tournaments.
As Vincent Paris said in a press conference, with the exception of a few years of work, the Golf du Médoc Resort has hosted a professional tournament every year.
Freed from hosting the Lacoste Ladies Open de France, the last edition of which took place in the Médoc in 2021, it was important for us and for our company to do everything possible to continue this tradition.
The meeting with Serge Melchiorre, president of the MCA company located in the Bordeaux region, naturally led to this project.
Looking ahead to the next edition, will the Médoc golf course continue to host this competition? Will there be a French Ladies Championship?
It is our will in our capacity as promoter of this tournament but depending on the partners that accompany us and the calendars of the different circuits. Our desire is to see the best players evolve, just like the best players. Still, finding a common, compatible date is tricky.
But we will succeed: the objective will always be to enhance the title of Champion of France. Preserving the festive and friendly side of this competition.
As for Serge Melchiorre, President of Maisons MCA, when asked why his company decided to sponsor this contest, he told us:
I have been passionate about golf for years and I play in amateur mode with some competitions under my belt.
Having lived through the old Grand Prix Schweppes, I wish to revive this prestigious event necessary for our sport.
It is therefore quite normal that Maisons MCA joins this French Professional Championship and conveys common values around sharing and passion!
A story that is 111 years old!
The reaction of our columnist, Philippe Palli, former member of PGA France,
winner of the French National Omnium Championship in 1988 and historian of French golf
I look forward to the grand return of the soon-scheduled French Professional Championship at the Golf du Médoc Resort from June 15-18. In addition, the title of Champion is awarded with the Jean Garaialde trophy.
Between 1951 and 1987, Jean Garaialde won the title of French Professional Champion 12 times. He also has 12 wins at the PGA French Grand Prix, formerly known as the APGF Grand Prix, and was a 17-time French Omnium Champion.
With the Open de France, which he won in 1969, Jean Garaialde put his name on the list of all essential events in French professional golf.
After Jean, only Thomas Levet has these 4 events under his belt.
Arnaud Massy, 1st French Pro Champion, four years after winning the Open
111 years ago, at the initiative of Pierre Deschamps, president of the Boulie golf course and first president of the future Union des Golfs de France (FFGolf), the French Professional Championship was born.
On May 25, 1911, Arnaud Massy became France’s first professional golf champion. He had won the British Open in 1907.
From 1926, the National Pro took the name of National Omnium Championship and the best amateurs in France could participate. Beginning in 1932, the Arnaud Massy trophy was awarded to the event.
In 1968 a new French Championship reserved exclusively for professionals was created. It had been at the initiative of Pierre-Etienne Guyot, then president of the PGA France and future president of FFGolf.
Massy, Gassiat, Laffitte…Garaialde…Levet, Van de Velde, Jacquelin…and many others, just as brilliant, were professional French champions while Dallemand, Boyer, Saubaber, Cavalo, Alsuguren, Mourguiart, Ado and Gregory Havret then amateur in 1998, like Bernard Pascassio, the initiator of the great comeback of this French Professional Championship, they were “Omnium French Champion”.
For a number of years, France’s top amateurs have generally continued their playing careers as professionals.
So why not one day award two titles in a single event: French Professional Champion and French Omnium Champion?
May 2022 in the Médoc be a good vintage!
Contact Kalika Conseil: Denis Fabre, [email protected] and 01 47 95 18 19
FRENCH PROFESSIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
French Open or National Open
The Omnium de France is the French Championship for professionals and amateurs alike.
Sources: Philippe Palli Archives, Golf Planète, DR Photos