Invited by the European Tour, Thomas Levet is taking part this week in his 29th Open de France.
At 54, the winner of the 2011 edition – ” It’s been eleven years already, I feel like it was yesterday – winner six times on the continental circuit and three times on the Legends Tour (European senior circuit reserved for those over 50), still has one of the finest records in French golf. Caddeyed by his long-time friend Marcel Manieteka, the Parisian displays his ambitions and also returns to the burning news of Liv Golf which is turning the world of golf upside down.
At his invitation
“The US Open and the British Open invite the senior champion to play the tournament. I won the Legends Open de France last year and that prompted me to ask for an invitation. My presence is also a way to promote the Senior French Open. And then I also want to bring something to our French Open which has been experiencing difficulties in recent years at the level of sponsors.
On his form
“Six or seven years ago, I was regularly injured. I didn’t put one foot in front of the other. I couldn’t have played. It was not relevant. In 2015, during my last participation, I was not competitive. Three years ago I gave away a young player. Today I feel good. And since I play less, I can better recover and heal minor injuries, while keeping the pleasure of playing. If I had to play 30 weeks of the year, it would obviously be more complicated. I don’t have the physical form when I get up in the morning of the young people on the circuit. But I train a lot. When I’m going to play a senior British Open the week after a British Open I’m commentating for the band Canal +, I have to train. I can’t finish in a top 20 like I did at PGA Senior, without practice. In the morning I take my bag and I work from 6 a.m. to 12 p.m., then I do 18 holes while walking to comment.
At the pro am (Wednesday) I showed the players I was playing with that I had plenty of level.
On his ambitions
“I regained my confidence. Last year I finished 2e of the senior European circuit (Legends tour). At the pro-am (Wednesday) I showed the players I was playing with that I had plenty of level. I hit the ball again. It is also a course that I know well, on which I also have good memories. Passing the cut seems quite doable to me. If it goes well I can even make a top 10!”
On the course
“It’s a lot easier than usual. The roughs are not penalizing. You may have a bad lie but you won’t lose your ball. The greens, which are of very good quality, still have a “trampoline” effect. And it’s not easy to control the ball well on small irons. This will be one of the difficulties to score low. Weather forecasts are favourable. It should be nice. If the wind doesn’t pick up, I think it’s going to score very low and I wouldn’t be surprised if we broke the tournament record for the lowest total score of the four rounds. »
On LIV golf, a blessing in disguise?
“The Liv Golf is not doing too much harm to the European tour. He does a lot on the PGA Tour and in the image of world golf. What will happen now in the Majors? How will the world ranking be organized? What is interesting is that with the offensive of Liv, the PGA Tour has in the process distributed more money to the players. He wasn’t listening enough to what some players were saying. Because some had catastrophic financial situations. Some have sacrificed their mental and financial health to evolve at the highest level. A golf season is very expensive. Patrick Cantlay (4th in the world) summed it up well. When you arrive on the PGA Tour and you struggle without making the cuts, you can win nothing. We are the only high-level media sport where it happens like that. In the NBA, there are players who wax the bench but who still get paid. If we can prevent high-level players from falling into the red… There are many players of my generation who have experienced this scenario. That the player is the only one of his staff who does not earn money over a week if he does not pass the cut, it is embarrassing.
On the choice to join the LIV Golf
“There are players who maybe have physical problems and can’t play as many tournaments a year. In 2007, when I had major physical problems and could no longer walk, if the LIV had offered me 20 million euros, I would have taken them. When you have just won a British Open (reference to the Australian Cameron Smith) and you have a red carpet unrolling in front of you, I don’t know if it’s relevant to do it…. Afterwards, we don’t know his state of mind, his mental health… Agassi who hated tennis, if at the age of 20, he would have been offered a circuit where you earned a lot more by playing a lot less, he would have taken them without hesitation.