Levet takes break to help France's Ryder Cup bid
Defending Spanish Open champion Thomas Levet is taking a break from golf practice to help France's bid to host the Ryder Cup in 2018.
Levet, the only Frenchman to have won five times on the European Tour, will be at the Presidential Elysee Palace in Paris on Wednesday for the official bid launch.
The French will be up against rival bids from Germany, Spain, Portugal and the Netherlands, and they will have the financial backing of the country's 400,000 registered amateur golfers who are each paying ?3 ($4) a year to help the bid.
``The support we have for staging the Ryder Cup at every level in France is strong,'' Levet said, two days before the Spanish Open begins. ``The government has decided that, along with the European nations football tournament and the Winter Olympics, the Ryder Cup forms part of a list of three big world events it wants to host in the next 10 years.''
Levet said France would have the facilities to host the Ryder Cup, and would get support from potential sponsors.
``We have Le Golf National at Versailles, which already stages the French Open and is very popular with European players,'' the 41-year-old Levet said. ``It is owned by the (French golf) federation and we have the funds to make whatever improvements are necessary to make it a very special Ryder Cup venue.''
But Levet said he fears a rival bid from Germany the most.
``We have everything in place, but the Germans have Bernhard Langer and he has been a very strong influence in European Golf,'' Levet said. ``But what I will say is that our bid will be the strongest financially. It is built on safety with no risks.''
Levet will be joined by Jean van de Velde, who blew a three-stroke lead on the final hole of the 1999 British Open.
The European Tour is expected to name the 2018 host in the middle of next year.