At the Evian, Name Calling Takes Practice

Every summer season, throughout most of the 4 rounds of the Amundi Evian Championship in France, a serious event in girls’s skilled golf since 2013, Evelyn Bayle and Agnès Meneghel don’t hit a single shot, nor supply a single phrase of recommendation to the gamers.

Even so, the girls, buddies for greater than 30 years, see themselves as a part of the sport. They are what are known as starters, the announcers who learn out the names of the golfers at the first gap of every spherical.

Meneghel, 55, and Bayle, 65, will likely be again at Evian this week, after the 2020 event was canceled due to the pandemic. Bayle, who’s from Galway, Ireland, however has lived in France for 40 years, has been working the event since 2014, having been really useful by certainly one of the occasion’s earlier starters due to her information of English and French. She then helped her good friend get the place in 2017.

“Their extensive knowledge of the players who tee off one after the other from the first tee enables them to present the champions to the spectators by announcing their name, nationality and main achievements,” Steve Brangeon, director of the event, stated. “Evelyn Bayle and Agnès Meneghel carry out this role magnificently and always with such professionalism.”

Inbee Park of South Korea competed at the Evian Championship in 2019 whereas Meneghel, certainly one of the announcers, appeared on.Credit…Jean-Philippe Ksiazek/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

And they take their jobs very significantly. Once she is aware of which golfers will likely be in the area, Bayle practices a few of the tougher names the day earlier than and writes them phonetically. Sometimes she seeks assist from buddies with the identical nationality.

“How would you pronounce this?” she asks.

When she remains to be not sure, she asks the participant’s caddie for the appropriate pronunciation.

Bayle stated she believed she had by no means gotten a reputation flawed.

But Meneghel has. She can not keep in mind the participant, simply how she felt when she fumbled the title.

“I went up to the caddie,” Meneghel stated, “and said, ‘Is it really the way I should pronounce this name,’ and he said, ‘Yeah, yeah, that’s it.’ And when it came out, it came out completely wrong.”

Before introducing the first group of gamers, the starters welcome the followers in French. The introductions are carried out in English.

“Some of the French people in the public, they say, ‘Why are you announcing in English? We’re in France,’” Bayle stated. She tells them, “It’s an international competition.”

The handbook scoreboard, pictured right here in 2019, can attest to the undeniable fact that there are loads of names that must be pronounced appropriately.Credit…Sebastien Nogier/EPA-EFE, by way of Shutterstock

For most of the rounds, the starters be certain to point out the identical quantity of emotion for every participant.

“Of course there are big names, but you have to give credit to everyone,” stated Meneghel, who stated she began studying English when she was 11 and lived in England for a yr when she was 19.

The custom of the bulletins, which happen at tournaments worldwide, is a vital one for gamers, who stated that listening to their names being known as meant so much.

“Being announced on the first tee is in my top five favorite things of being a professional golfer,” stated Natalie Gulbis, 38, of the United States, who gained the Evian event in 2007. “In Evian, it’s really special. I think, being the fact it’s not just your name, but that you’re representing your country” once you play internationally.

Angela Stanford, the 2018 Evian winner, agrees. “I come from a small town in Texas,” stated Stanford, 43, who has seven L.P.G.A. victories. “When we leave the country, and they announce me from the United States, I take a great deal of pride in that. I love it.”

For the first day of the four-day event, the gamers tee off on the No. 1 or No. 10 holes. Bayne is liable for the bulletins on one tee, Meneghel the different. They change locations on the second day. Over the weekend, they break up the duties, with all of the golfers starting their spherical on No. 1.

The announcement for every group often goes like this:

“Ladies and gentlemen, this is group number 23, tee time 11:32. On the tee from the United States of America, Natalie Gulbis.” For the second participant the starter says “Next on the tee.” For the third participant, “And on the tee.” If the participant is the defending champion, the starter will add that element to the announcement.

After the gamers from every group hit their opening drives, they go away the tee field and head down the fairway. Bayle and Meneghel then put together the scorecards for the subsequent group to tee off.

There are 12 minutes between every tee time. The starters notify the gamers when 5 minutes stay earlier than their scheduled repeatedly when there may be one minute to go. Other than that, the starters don’t say a lot to the gamers.

“They do recognize us and smile and always say, ‘Thank you,’” Bayle stated. “Most of them are really nice. Some of them are more inclined to talk to me, and I will talk to them.”

For each starters, who convey their husbands, the week in Evian is a vacation. They aren’t paid for his or her work, however obtain free lodging, lunch on website and an allowance for night meals. After each participant has teed off, they keep and watch the remainder of the spherical.

The girls met whereas working at the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a part of the World Health Organization, in Lyon in the 1980s. Meneghel nonetheless works there, however Bayle is retired.

Both are conversant in the sport and play their share of golf.

“I have been a beginner for the last 30 years,” Meneghel stated.

Nonetheless, for one week a yr, they get a possibility to observe the greatest girls golfers in the world.

And be a part of the sport.