France won the right to host the 2018 Ryder Cup golf here on Tuesday, triumphing despite emotional appeals for the event to be awarded to Spain in tribute to Seve Ballesteros.
France's bid, which centres on Le Golf National Course outside Paris, successfully beat out rival bids from venues in Germany, Portugal, The Netherlands and Spain.
The French bid officials burst into applause as the European Tour Chief Executive, George O'Grady, confirmed their victory by a “clear but narrow margin” in an announcement at the Wentworth Golf Club, outside London.
The 2018 event will be only the second Ryder Cup ever held on continental Europe following its staging in Valderrama, Spain, in 1997, when Ballesteros masterminded a dramatic victory over the USA.
Relatives of Ballesteros, who died earlier this month three years after being diagnosed with a brain tumour, had urged officials to back Spain's bid as a fitting tribute to the 54-year-old icon.
“It would have made my brother very happy, for it was one of his dreams,” Baldomero Ballesteros said last week.
However, in a clear signal that the Tour was leaning away from the Spanish bid, a statement released just hours before Tuesday's vote said officials were studying a range of options for a permanent tribute to Ballesteros. Among options being considered are changing the European Tour logo to an image of Ballesteros, the European Tour said in the statement. — AFP