Teams finalised for next week’s Seve Trophy
No Irish representative on the Britain & Ireland team to face Continental Europe
Jose Maria Olazabal reacts to a shot during the second round of the Italian Open. Photograph: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)
An experienced Continental Europe team featuring five Ryder Cup players will take on defending champions Great Britain & Ireland at next week’s Seve Trophy following confirmation of the two ten-man teams for the eighth edition of the biennial contest.
Led by Captain José María Olazábal, who steered Europe to Ryder Cup glory in 2012, the Continental Europe Team includes three of the Spaniard’s stars from the ‘Miracle at Medinah’, Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts, Swede Peter Hanson and Italian Francesco Molinari, as well as two of his vice captains, Denmark’s Thomas Björn, the winner of the Omega European Masters, and Spaniard Miguel Angel Jiménez.
They will be joined at St-Nom-La Bretèche Golf Club, in France, by Finland’s Mikko Ilonen and Italian Matteo Manassero, who played in the contest in 2007 and 2011 respectively, and three debutants, Frenchman Grégory Bourdy, Dutchman Joost Luiten and Dane Thorbjørn Olesen.
Olazábal, who will undertake his second stint as captain in the contest, having been at the helm at The Wynyard Club in 2005, said: “I think we have a very strong team this year with a good mix of players with Ryder Cup experience and some exciting, talented younger players such as Matteo, Joost and Thorbjørn.
“It is a tournament and a competition that was very close to Seve’s heart, and we will have to show some of his fighting spirit to win this year and improve on our recent record.
“It’s not going to be easy as the Britain & Ireland team is also strong and they have dominated in recent years, but I’m looking forward to working with my players and hopefully we can do it.”
Sam Torrance, the victorious 2002 European Ryder Cup captain, will lead the Britain & Ireland team, which includes Scotland’s Paul Lawrie, another member of last year’s historic Ryder Cup team, and Englishman Paul Casey, a three-time Ryder Cup player.
Englishman Chris Wood, who was undefeated on his last appearance in 2009, returns to the fold, along with Scotland’s Marc Warren, who last featured in 2007, and Welshman Jamie Donaldson and Scotland’s Scott Jamieson, who were both part of the victorious team two years ago.
Torrance, who will captain a team in the Seve Trophy for the first time, said: “I think we have got a good blend of players in the team, and I’m really looking forward to working with all of them.
“We have a couple of Ryder Cup players in Paul Casey and Paul Lawrie, the latter being an Open Champion, and the debutants are very strong. Simon Khan is a former BMW PGA Champion and was runner up again this year at Wentworth, and Stephen Gallacher and Tommy Fleetwood have both won this season, while David Lynn has had a fantastic year in America.
“So we have a lot of experience in the team, as does the Continental Europe Team, and it promises to be an exciting contest next week. I’ve a few ideas about pairings already, and hopefully we can retain the trophy and make it seven in a row.”
Qualification for both teams began at the Nelson Mandela Championship presented by ISPS Handa in December 2012, and concluded after last week’s Italian Open. The two teams were chosen from the leading five available players from the Official World Gold Ranking on Monday, and the leading five available players from The Race to Dubai.
The event format will be similar to previous editions, the only slight alteration coming on Saturday which will now consist of two sessions of four foursomes contested instead of four morning greensomes, followed by four afternoon foursomes.
The rest of the format remains the same, with a series of five fourball matches on each of the first two days and ten singles on the final day. As with The Ryder Cup, a team requires 14½ points for victory.
Continental Europe won the first edition of the contest 13 years ago, while Britain and Ireland have won the last six matches in succession, claiming a 15½-12½ success two years ago at St-Nom-La Bretèche Golf Club, which hosts the event for the third consecutive time.