Paul Lawrie at a loss over absence of Europe’s big names at next week’s Seve Trophy
Scot can however understand some of Europe’s star names missing Alfred Dunhill Links Championship
An aerial view of 1st and 18th holes on the Old Course at St Andrews. Photograph:David Cannon/Getty Images
Paul Lawrie can understand some of Europe’s star names missing this week’s Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, but admits he is baffled by their absence from next week’s Seve Trophy.
The teams for the Seve Trophy were confirmed yesterday, with Britain and Ireland’s top six qualifiers, as expected, all turning down the chance to play in the biennial event against Europe. Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Graeme McDowell, Luke Donald, Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter will not travel to Versailles as Sam Torrance’s side attempt to claim a seventh win in succession against a Europe team captained by Jose Maria Olazabal.
Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley, who appointed Torrance and Olazabal, insisted he was “not too disheartened” by the loss of such players and is looking forward to seeing how some potential members of his team for Gleneagles next year will perform.
But Lawrie, who is the only player from the “Miracle at Medinah” on the Britain and Ireland team, expressed his disappointment at the absence of many of the players who wore the late Ballesteros’ colours and silhouette on their uniforms in Chicago.
“If they all played, I wouldn’t have got a game, which I think would have been okay with me, because you want the strongest team, you want two teams going at each other at full strength,” Lawrie said. “As it is these guys are not playing and I’m getting a game, which I’m delighted about. I’d walk to Paris to play on that team next week, I would have done whatever it would have taken.
“I think it’s important. You’re representing GB&I, you’re representing Seve and what he stood for, for Europe. He started it all off for us. I personally would never turn down playing in that. (Missing) this tournament is a little bit understandable, because obviously the FedEx just finished the other day. The Seve Trophy I don’t quite understand to be fair. I think it’s extremely disappointing that a lot of the guys are not playing.
“I’m not slagging them off, I just think that with Seve’s name attached to it and the idea behind it, it’s kind of the equivalent to the President’s Cup for the American boys. For so many of our boys not to want to play in an event that not only carries Seve’s name, but you get handsomely paid to play in it as well, I don’t understand it.
“It’s disappointing for everyone involved in it, for the European Tour who had done a great job putting it on and for Seve and his family. I mean, my God, most of us are out here playing because of what he did years ago. You’d have to ask the players that are not playing why they are not playing. I assume it’s a scheduling thing. Is it the end of a long season and it’s just one season too many? Could well be.”
Lawrie believes he could form a successful partnership with Stephen Gallacher next week – Scott Jamieson and Marc Warren are the other Scots on the team – and is relishing playing under Torrance.
“He was one of the guys I looked up to hugely,” Lawrie added. Sam was a vice-captain at the Ryder Cup when I played in 1999 and he was a huge help that week. I asked him a lot of questions. I think he was the first professional golfer that called me when I won the Open at Carnoustie and that says a lot about him. I tried so hard to get on his Ryder Cup team, almost too hard. I played too much and was desperate to part of his squad. Paul McGinley always said he was the best captain he played for so I’m really looking forward to next week.”
Ryder Cup hero – and 2010 Dunhill Links winner – Martin Kaymer also turned down the chance to compete for Europe and said: “I played a lot of tournaments the last few weeks and there are very, very important tournaments coming up. For my caddie, the people I work with and myself, it’s not fair if you enter tournaments where you can’t be your best.
“[Seve’s name] definitely does play a role but unfortunately I never had the pleasure of meeting him . . . But I haven’t been satisified with myself this season, so that’s why I need to focus on myself now. I can’t do my best for the team and I’m sure other people are more motivated to play. It’s nothing to do that I don’t like Seve.”