Something in the Water
BY LEWINE MAIR
In the build-up to the 2012 Evian
Masters, the magic in the air is on a
par with that in the town’s legendary spring water. The tournament is
celebrating 18 glorious years as it
metamorphoses into something still
more glamorous – a little like the
butterflies on this summer’s poster.
As from 2013, The Evian
Championship, to give it its new
title, will be the first major, men’s or
women’s, to be held in Continental
In this final year of the original,
flutters of “major” tension will almost certainly kick in as competitors
mount the new back tee at the first.
This adjustment, like the stretching
of the second, has featured in the
initial stages of the course upgrade.
The ninth and the 14th also are holes
whose “major” guise is complete.
Of course, it is not just the play-
ers who are so keenly conscious of
what lies ahead. Spectators will be
that much more anxious to stay in the
know, board-carriers will be bearing
their boards that much more proudly,
and the media will be upping their
games as they prepare to switch to
a “major” key. As Franck Riboud, the
tournament president, has said of the
transition, “It gives us greater legitimacy but, more importantly, it gives
us so much desire and enthusiasm.”
The sponsors’ love of the women’s
game has been instrumental in making the Evian Masters what it is.
Initially, Riboud’s father sponsored a music festival in the town.
Riboud Snr. decided to switch to golf
20 years ago and started out with a
men’s pro-am. When the men did not,
as it were, come up to scratch, he
swapped them for the women – and
has stayed with them since.
“We prefer the
women,” came Riboud’s
cheerful explanation at
the press conference at which
the news for 2013 was announced.
Where the sponsors are thrice
blessed is in having a venue like
Evian which mirrors St Andrews in
the way the town and the course are
one. You see the same people on
the streets as on the fairways, and
the moment the tournament gets
underway, you can guarantee that
the locals will forget all about the
prices in the shops. They will be
more interested by far in how
many yards Laura Davies is
hitting the ball, the length of
Michelle Wie’s skirt – and who
is where in relation to par.
Like all the Evian
Masters of the recent
past, this year’s A