Rory McIlroy yesterday revealed he had resisted the emotional plea of his Ryder Cup captain, Jose Maria Olazabal, and would not be playing in this month's Vivendi Seve Trophy in Paris.
The focus will now fall on the other European superstars, who, to a man, all said how much their home tour owed to the Spanish great Seve Ballesteros, after whom the tournament was renamed following his death in May.
Olazabal reportedly wrote to each of those in contention to appear at the match, which pits Great Britain and Ireland against continental Europe, asking them to turn out in honour of his great friend. How Olazabal will react if there is a mass stayaway is predictable. Bitterly, is the best bet.
McIlroy, the US Open champion, was part of the winning side in Paris two years ago and it played an important role ahead of his Ryder Cup debut by showing him how much fun team golf was.
But McIlroy said yesterday that he had commitments with his sponsors and also wanted some time at home before embarking on a 12-week stretch of travel. "I want to try to get two weeks at home and do a few things before I head off on that big run," he told European Tour radio.
Lee Westwood has yet to make up his mind whether to play – his last appearance was 2003 – but with Mark Foster in line for a debut he commented: "It would be nice if Worksop had two people there."
Luke Donald, Graeme McDowell, Ian Poulter, Martin Laird and Justin Rose are likely to miss it because of the FedEx Cup play-offs in America.