Charles-André Bagnoud was appointed president of the Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club on 2 May. He succeeded the irreplaceable Gaston F. Barras.
Born next to the Jack Nicklaus course on 27 August 1957, he has just celebrated his 65th birthday. His birthday on Saturday was partly spent on the Severiano Ballesteros course.
The former player, a member of the Swiss junior and amateur teams, has been an international referee since 1992. "I took part in the first refereeing courses. They were given in Paris in the early 90s. It was very academic. I felt like I was at university.
Since then, Charles-André Bagnoud has not missed any edition of the Omega European Masters. "Apart from this home event, I referee four-five other tournaments a year. I headed in that direction because I didn't have time to play anymore. But I still wanted to stay close to golf, which I particularly enjoy," explains the lawyer-notary.
A spirit of fair play
In golf, the referee doesn't really have the same role as in team sports: he doesn't whistle for fouls and doesn't have to hand out yellow cards. "Golfers are fair players, they don't cheat... or not much. When they have a doubt about a rule or a game situation, they call us. We are there to ensure that all the participants in the tournament play under the same conditions. In fact, when we get to them, the first thing we ask them is: what can I do for you?
A ball under the... toilet
Funny things happen at every Omega European Masters. This year, Nacho Elvira's ball ended up under a toilet near hole 12. What is the rule in such a case? "That structure is not there outside the tournament. So he was able to recover his ball and play it again without a penalty stroke. On the other hand, if a fixed obstacle, such as the clubhouse above hole 18, prevents a pro from playing his ball, he will be penalized."
A ball also landed in a cameraman's bag. This outside intervention prevented it from being out of bounds. Another unexpected situation: during the Pro-Am, a child rushed to the fairway on the 9th to pick up the ball of a participant in the flight which included former Swiss President Adolf Ogi. "If people nearby or the child himself can tell where the ball was, just put it back. But if there is no witness, the ball is considered lost," concludes Charles-André Bagnoud, the presiding referee.