The Open de France is the biggest rendezvous on the French golf scene each year and one of the most important events of the European Tour schedule. Here are some hints for those who do not quite understand the complex organisation of professional male European golf.
You do not quite understand every word about European tours? You feel confused? Don’t panic. Rule n°1: just remember that the European tours are built on a 3-level pyramidal pattern. Up above, the 1st division: there stands the European Tour which presents the best and richest events. The 47 venues are distributed over five continents around the world, Europe of course but also America, Asia, Africa and Australasia. These tournaments welcome the best professional players. At the end of the season, the top 110 keep their access card for the following season.
The second stage of the pyramid is named The Challenge Tour. It is a kind of university for professional golf. It is composed of some 25 tournaments in 20 countries, 3 of them are played on French soil. These tournaments prepare for the 1st division. Going through there is almost necessary to grow stronger. This is a demanding tour where you find young players learning from older ones coming down from the European Tour and struggling to get back to it. At the end of the season, the top 15 win an access to the 1st division for the following season.
If the Challenge Tour stands for university, the Alps Tour stands for college and forms the basis of the pyramid, the 3rd division which was created to allow young golfers to train and learn the spirit of competition before climbing up. The Alps Tour is made of 22 events, 5 venues on French soil, and gives only 5 spots for the following Challenge Tour season. So, how the Open de France fits in this pattern? Quite simple: it is part of the European Tour (1st division), stands as one of the greatest rendezvous of the season and is praised by the best players.