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Monday, 19 June 2006

Switzerland’s golfing Godfather, André Bossert, the most successful player the country has ever produced, has hailed the European Challenge Tour’s return to his homeland for this week’s Credit Suisse Challenge as the perfect opportunity to build a structure capable of producing Swiss players with the ability to become European Tour champions.

The 42 year old, himself a European and Challenge Tour winner, believes that, just as they have done in tennis and football, Switzerland can put in place a model that will educate and develop the best Swiss players to the very highest level of performance.

For a nation of just seven and a half million people, Switzerland has shown that they can cultivate a group of young footballers capable of reaching the sport’s most celebrated stage at the 2006 FIFA World Cup, while the achievements of Roger Federer and Martina Hingis have been at the forefront of Swiss tennis for the past decade.

Bossert, whose fellow Swiss professionals recently voted him as their representative with the Swiss PGA, can see no reason why golf can’t be the next big thing in Switzerland, and hopes that his influence can help the country put the required knowledge and expertise in place to let golf flourish in his homeland.

He said: “It’s awesome that we have a Challenge Tour event in Switzerland. We have to thank Credit Suisse for coming up with the money because we are thrilled about having the Challenge Tour back.

“The huge benefit in having this tournament for Switzerland is the opportunities it will give our young players through the exchange of invitations to other events. We have had guys on The European Tour on and off, and then we have two or three Challenge Tour players and the rest have been lower level.

“There are at least six or seven guys who can benefit from these exchanges, otherwise they would only play on the Alps Tour and at local level. It gives them the chance to gain experience and keep a place on the Challenge Tour where they can keep developing and improving. For development, it is fantastic.

“In Switzerland we have had great financial support from Credit Suisse for a long time but we also need to have structure. A lot of countries are doing that now and getting top coaches in. Switzerland has the finance, we just need to get the expertise to get the structure right.

“It’s happening and we are getting help but we have to keep building the structure. There’s no reason why Switzerland can produce top golfers. The signs are there. We just need a bit of knowledge – that’s the main thing that’s missing from Swiss golf.”

Swiss golf will get the chance to see how good their players can be come as many of Europe’s most promising players arrive at the Wylihof Golf Club to contest the €140,000 Credit Suisse Challenge.

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