The Amundi Evian Championship, when women’s golf reaches new heights

Matthieu Camison, General Manager Evian Resort Golf Club (photo ©Lewis Joly) and Amelie Bourdin, Tournament Director The Amundi Evian Championship (photo ©TAEC)

Since 2013, it has been one of “five Grand Slam tournaments in women’s golf”. “The Amundi Evian Championship”, interpreted by Franck Riboud and directed by Yves Perrier, promotes the discipline and those who practice it. Amélie Bourdin and director of the tournament since November 2021 and Matthieu Camison took over, in January 2017, the management of the Evian Resort Golf Club, setting of the tournament since 1994.

1. Women’s Swing: Since last year and for 5 years, the French company Amundi has been the title partner of the Amundi Evian Championship. New sponsor, new name, new endowment… Isn’t the tournament about to enter a new era?

Amelie Bourdin: I think we are in a new era of world women’s golf. There is a movement of evolution, with a significant increase in the overall prize money of Grand Slam tournaments. Also, the media landscape is becoming denser, with increasingly professional, athletic players, prepared like all the greatest champions in all sports…

2. SF: What do you think has allowed women’s golf to gain such a place in the spotlight?

Amelie Bourdin: It should not be forgotten that of the five “Major” tournaments, three are organized in the United States, where parity in sport is very strong. While The Amundi Evian Championship is a women’s championship, so we don’t have this problem. When we started in 1994, it was precisely so that women in Europe could make a living from golf!

3. SF: Today, your “prize money” is, for a women’s tournament, particularly high. Was it important to reward the players as much as possible?

A B : It’s true that the arrival of Amundi has enabled us to make a new gesture in terms of “prize money”. Thanks to all of our sponsors, it rose to 6.5 million euros this year. We try to continue to create a positive momentum for all these women who play golf and try to make a living from their sport. The goal was for the best to earn better and better lives. There, the winner wins $1 million in prize money. In the past, players who did not pass the cut (who were deleted after the first 2 rounds, NLDR) left with nothing. We said to ourselves: all the players, whatever their classification, will leave with a sum. Because for many players it is a real challenge to finance a season.

4. S. F: Speaking of accommodation, the setting of The Amundi Evian Championship, it’s the Evian Resort. What is this particular complex, founded in 1909?

Matthew Camisson: Already, the setting is absolutely exceptional. You are between the French Alps and Lake Geneva, in a very calm, very natural environment. On the golf side, on a historic course, “The Champions Course” which is more than a hundred years old and which, from a purely technical point of view, is extremely challenging. It’s a real championship course! We are about 400 m above sea level, you hardly ever have flat feet, so that tells you a little about the difficulty… The greens are of very high quality, and that is the work of almost a lifetime. They are very big, very hilly and varied, so with a lot of strategy. Once you arrive on the green, I want to say… The hardest part begins!

On one also a David Leadbetter Teaching Academy, located on a second course, a real garden. It’s a small six-hole setting called “The Lake Course”. Like that, on a diversified offer for our customers. Moreover, “the lodged” have the possibility of coming to practice 1 h / 1 h 30, and that is part of the new uses. We no longer have to block out a whole day to go golf. Today, while Madame is having a short golf session, Monsieur is at the Spa… Or vice versa!

5. SF: Becoming “Major”, did that change a lot of things?

Matthew Camisson: Already in 2013, when the Amundi Evian Championship became “Major”, it was completely redesigned. We are the only “Major” in Continental Europe, we are very proud of that! Especially since we’re not in a big capital, we’re in Évian… It’s a small village! I know that many golfers are happy to be able to compete at this championship course. It’s like going on a mythical course, and that’s what we hope to become. For that, we take the example of the greatest, like Augusta (one of the most famous and select golf clubs in the world, editor’s note). Of course, we feel small in front of these courses and their history, but we are slowly building our own.

6. SF: Finally, let’s get back to The Amundi Evian Championship… This year, it takes place from July 21 to 24, what can we expect, anything new?

A B : This year, our field of play is changing, we will welcome the 132 best players in the world. Two years ago, Franck Riboud had the will to have our ephemeral structures assessed so that they distort the place as little as possible. In our sponsor villages, we are going to set up somewhat Berber style tents, very refined. And then we focused on the public village, thanks to a local service provider, Ephemer Square, which makes eco-designed wooden sculptures. The idea is to be eco-responsible, while offering a very friendly welcome, with a Food Court equipped with a giant screen where people come to sit down and enjoy!

For the players, who are our absolute priority, we have set up a childcare system, thanks to the Kids Resort at the Hôtel Royal, because many are mums! And then with our partner Callaway, we designed a whole fitting system.

7. SF: So the future looks green and bright for The Amundi Evian Championship…

A B : It’s true that the 5-year partnership with Amundi brings a bit of serenity. It is added to our other partners committed to the long term such as Evian, Danone or Rollex, and that allows us to project ourselves. We don’t want to make money, we want to reinvest and ask ourselves: what do we want this magnificent tournament to be evaluated for, by expanding its galaxy to young people in particular.

CM: Our environmental impact, we can no longer ignore this kind of subject. The Evian Resort wishes to join the Golf for Biodiversity Program, launched by the FFGOLF and the National Museum of Natural History. At the beginning of the year, we obtained the silver label! So I wanted to insist on what Amélie said: Evian, it starts with young people. We have a golf school of 120 young people, we also do “school golf”…

A B : It’s a real mission: to grow this tournament and its galaxy, while preserving its DNA, which is to be at the service of women’s golf.

By Clotilde Boudet

To find out more about the Amundi Evian Championship: click here

For more information on Evian Resort Golf Club: click here

To read our latest article on the same subject:

The Amundi Evian Championship increases its prize pool to $6.5 million

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