DAVID Ginola has set his sights on joining the European Seniors Tour. The former Newcastle United and France international soccer star has thrown his weight behind the campaign for Paris’s Golf National bid to host the 2018 Ryder Cup – but he also harbours a desire to parade his golfing talents on the international stage in his own right.
The 43-year-old former Tottenham and Aston Villa winger took up the game in a friend’s back garden in 1992 and now has a four handicap. He wants to whittle that down to zero, turn pro and play on the Seniors Tour.
“I have seven years left to get my card,” said Ginola. “I would love to be able to say every day ‘let’s go to work’ and then go out and play golf.
‘To go from four to zero, you have to work in a different way on all the small aspects of the game and that is time-consuming, but if you want to do it you have to go in to the bunkers for hours on end with a million golf balls and practice.
“I first started hitting balls into a net and thought ‘this is nice, I like this’ so I started playing a little bit, no lessons, just practising after watching a Nick Faldo video at night and then in the morning I would try and remember what I saw and use it.
“When you play a sport like football it is your job so you tend to concentrate on your job and I didn’t have time to practise properly. My golf has improved a lot now.”
Ginola, who has been busy working as an ambassador for England’s attempt to land the 2018 football World Cup, is also right behind France’s bid for the 2018 Ryder Cup and he added: “It would be fantastic. The 18th at the Golf National is wonderful. We would have a wonderful scene round there, and on the ninth, 16th, 18th, 70,000 people watching the final moments of the Ryder Cup. It would be amazing.
“As a Frenchman I would love to see it of course, but even more so as a golfer.
“I cannot imagine what it is like to be 21 years of age, have the perfect swing and play in the Ryder Cup, representing Europe, standing up on the first tee and hearing people shout and sing your name. It must be amazing.
“I could take a penalty kick in front of 80,000 and would not feel any pressure. I had years of practice taking that kick and I played football since I was five. It was what I did.
“When you have that little 30-inch putt, that is real pressure. When you have a penalty in a full stadium, the noise never stops. Graham McDowell stepped up for that putt on the 16th and the noise among the 50,000 people stopped. When the stewards hold up the signs for silence, there is silence.
“So for that moment, he knows the attention is totally on him and he is on his own. Now that is pressure.”