“Now we have a bunch of players who can win every weekFrench golf, represented by Victor Perez at the Augusta Masters which begins Thursday, has perhaps never been so well, according to Benoît Ducoulombier, former national coach.
National trainer in charge of the French pros until 2018, the one who is nicknamed “Le Druide” directs the Golf Academy of Saint-Donat, near Cannes, and has just accompanied Antoine Rozner at the highest level, twice victorious this year. winter as it begins on the European circuit. He still works with Victor Dubuisson, the only French golfer to have participated in three Masters in a row, from 2014 to 2016, when he rose to 15th place in the world.
“When Victor (Dubuisson) won (on the European circuit in 2013, Editor’s note), it brought something“, explains to AFP the one who now trains, in a private capacity, about twenty players, most of them French, and two young players including Lucie Malchirand, 19th Saturday of the Women National Amateur, in Augusta, on the legendary course of the next Masters . “I have already participated (as a coach) in ten victories on the European circuit, ten victories for girls, and perhaps thirty on the Challenge Tour (the European D2, Editor’s note). All these accumulated victories have brought something. But it is thanks to the federation, which has invested a lot in professional golf, in the rounds of the Challenge Tour, the coaches“.
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Victor Dubuisson at the French Open 2015
“In 2000, it was the desert”
The current improvement, thanks to Perez, Rozner, but also Romain Langasque, Mike Lorenzo-Vera and Benjamin Hébert, is the result of twenty years of hard work, according to him: “We have really caught up with our delay compared to 2000, when I started training for the federation. It was the desert, there were two players, (Jean) Van de Velde and (Raphaël) Jacquelin“At the time, the French pros were each playing in their own corner,” says Ducoulombier, “when he proposed to the newly elected FFG president, Philippe Martin, to take care of it, he was first told:”No need, we never managed to get them to agree“.
But he insisted and even obtained a substantial budget to finance travel, physical preparation and joint training. “The objective was not to put everything on two players, but the opposite: take as many players as possible and move them forward together, so that individualities stand out. We would go together, we would eat together, and the results came, with the elders playing the game and serving as leaders“.
“It started like that. We accompanied them to tournaments, I had assistants, and when we made a Top 10 on a Challenge Tour, we shouted a miracle. There were also players on the European Tour, like Jacquelin, who made their own hole“. “The golf federation played a somewhat pioneering role, which for example aroused the interest of the Italians. There was a real budget for each player, with mandatory training“, adds Ducoulombier.
The “Druid” does not advise Perez, the 29th player in the world, but he is happy to give his opinion on him: “I see that it is someone who stays in his fundamentals, who does not scatter, who does not see 15,000 coaches. He stays on two or three keys: he hits hard, he has a good physique. I often tell my players: there is nothing worse than being curious in golf“.
Victor Perez au World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play at Austin Country Club on March 28, 2021
Credit: Getty Images
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