x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Seve Trophy omissions sadden Olazabal

Jose Maria Olazabal, the European Ryder Cup captain, said he was disappointed that players such as Luke Donald and Rory McIlroy, did not make themselves available for the biennial contest.

Luke Donald, the world No 1, will not play in the Seve Trophy, instead choosing to commit to other tournaments.
Luke Donald, the world No 1, will not play in the Seve Trophy, instead choosing to commit to other tournaments.

Jose Maria Olazabal, the European Ryder Cup captain, said he was disappointed that three of the world's top four golfers - Luke Donald, Martin Kaymer and Rory McIlroy - and several other big names will be missing from the Seve Trophy competition next week.

Those three, along with Graeme McDowell, Paul Casey and Robert Karlsson, did not make themselves available for the biennial contest that matches a team from Britain and Ireland against a Continental Europe squad.

"I'm sad all our top players are not going to be playing in the match after Seve's [Ballesteros] death this year," Olazabal said. "But I also know the top players in the world have commitments like the FedExCup in America, getting world ranking points and, in Luke Donald's case, trying to finish top of the European and US money lists."

Olazabal said, however, he "certainly will not hold it against them" when it comes time to pick the Ryder Cup team next year.

"They cannot appear at every event, and I am sorry they won't be there, but I understand their situation," Olazabal said.

Even without those stars, the Continental European team for the Seve Trophy includes six players in the world's top 50, including the in-form Dane Thomas Bjorn, who has won back-to-back tour titles in the last two weeks; the Italian teenager, Matteo Manassero; and the experienced Spaniard, Miguel Angel Jimenez.

"It is great to see so many great champions in the field and so many fantastic young prospects like Matteo Manassero," said Jean van de Velde, the Continental Europe captain.

"With eight rookies in the two teams it means 40 per cent of the sides are newcomers to the Seve Trophy and this will be great preparation for the day they step up to play in the Ryder Cup."

The Britain and Ireland team will be bolstered by the presence of Lee Westwood, the world No 2, and Darren Clarke, the British Open champion.

"It is a huge boost players of the calibre of Lee, Darren and Ian [Poulter] have opted to play in Paris," Paul McGinley, the Britain and Ireland captain, said.

"These are players with big worldwide reputations and impressive Ryder Cup pedigrees. I think we have an extremely strong side with a good blend of youth and experience."

The event, which was launched by and named after the late Seve Ballesteros, will take place from September 15 to 18 at St-Nom-La-Breteche in Paris with a series of fourballs, greensomes, foursomes and singles matches.

Britain and Ireland have won the trophy five times and Europe once since it was launched by Ballesteros in 2000.