Sergio Garcia, one of the heroes of Europe’s memorable Ryder Cup triumph at The De Vere Belfry a fortnight ago, travels to France this week to defend his title in the Trophée Lancôme at St-Nom-la-Bretèche.
A year ago, the Spaniard produced one of the most exciting finishes of the year on The European Tour International Schedule when he came from behind with three birdies in the closing four holes to pip Retief Goosen and stop the South African from repeating his success of 2000.
Garcia will be keen for a successful defence but he will be tested by a strong field which includes a host of champions from this season’s European Tour, including multiple winners Justin Rose and Adam Scott and several past Trophée Lancôme winners including Colin Montgomerie and Ian Woosnam.
The one thing missing for the local galleries so far is a home winner and the French resistance could be spearheaded this year by Raphaël Jacquelin, Open Golf Championship runner-up Thomas Levet, and Jean-Francois Remesy, all three of whom currently lie within the top 70 on the Volvo Order of Merit.
The Trophée Lancôme returns to St-Nom-la-Bretèche for the 33rd time with many of the greatest names in golf having decorated the honours board. Indeed, of the 32 previous editions of the Trophée Lancôme, no fewer than 23 have been won by Major Champions.
Tony Jacklin won the inaugural event in 1970 and since then players such as Tommy Aaron, Seve Ballesteros, Billy Casper, David Graham, Bernhard Langer, Sandy Lyle, Johnny Miller, José Maria Olazábal, Mark O'Meara, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Nick Price, Vijay Singh, Lee Trevino, Ian Woosnam, and Goosen have all earned Major Championship honours and triumphed in France.
The much-renowned St-Nom-la-Bretèche course was officially opened in 1959 and in 1963 the staging of The Canada Cup gave the venue international recognition before the first Trophée Lancôme seven years later. As well as the course itself, the clubhouse, in the restored buildings of the old farm, is one of the most beautiful in Europe.