Evian Championship: Georgia Hall among the contenders in France
Last Updated: 13/09/18 10:08am
The last major of the year is the start of a very big month of golf in France. Richard Kaufman takes a closer look at the upcoming Evian Championship.
Hall's Open success
Report and highlights from Georgia Hall's victory at the Ricoh Women's British Open.
Evian, the home of this week's Evian Championship, couldn't be more different to the big-city vibe of Paris, host city for the Ryder Cup. While I would be kidding you to suggest this tournament is up there with Europe-USA match, it's a very big deal in the ladies' game.
In a week where Justin Rose has reached the summit of the game, it was great to hear Georgia Hall talking about her ambitions and trying to match Rose in getting to world No 1.
Charley Hull has got close in the past, but Georgia is the first English player to have made it inside the top 10 of the Rolex Rankings. It's worth pointing out, though, the rankings only started in 2006 and that Scottish Solheim Cup captain Catriona Matthew has also previously reached that landmark.
One of my favourite Evian Championship stories involves Dame Laura Davies from 1996, when the event was very much in its infancy, which we recently discussed in The Round Golf Podcast.
Davies had some distractions, as the final round coincided with England's big match against Spain in Euro 96. In an era before smartphones, iPads and WiFi, Laura took a portable television out on the course with her and watched the game while still taking the title by four shots!
In those days Davies was the one to beat, but as she tees it up here for the 24th successive year, others are likely to take centre stage and unlikely to be watching the telly as they try and claim the fifth major of the season.
Ariya Jutanugarn is the favourite, but the tournament is wide open. Remember, two of this year's major winners have been first-time winners of an LPGA Tour event. One of those, Georgia Hall, finished top-10 in her debut here last year and has to be amongst the contenders.
It's not a course where Hull has had too much success over the years, but Lytham apart, she has stepped it up in the big events in 2018. There has been European success since Evian became a major in the shape of Suzann Pettersen, who has recently become a mum, and the defending champion Anna Nordqvist, so don't rule out one of the Europeans impressing.
2017 recap: Nordqvist's victory
Relive Anna Nordqvist's dramatic victory in the 2017 Evian Championship.
There are some very nice houses in the hills and around the Evian Resort Course. The people that live in them get to stare out at this picturesque golf course and take in views beyond over Lake Geneva and into Switzerland on a daily basis. I wonder if they lap up the scenery as much as I do on my annual visit to one of the biggest women's golf events in Europe.
It's 10 years since I first came to Evian Les Bains, this spa town best known for the water it produces, and that setting never gets tired. There are, of course, days when the view disappears with inclement weather as it has tended to do since this tournament became a major.
In two of the five editions of the Evian Championship, we've been reduced to 54 holes. This is the last with a September date, with the event moving back to July for 2019. Fingers crossed, the sunshine that has greeted us all so far stays through to Sunday and that an exciting 2018 in the majors ends on a high.
Watch the Evian Championship throughout the week live on Sky Sports Golf!