Players wait in hope for their 'father figure' to make his return

An appearance by Seve Ballesteros at the event named in his honour would dwarf anything that happens on the course, writes James Corrigan

With respect to the teams of Continental Europe and Great Britain who will contest their Ryder Cup rehearsal here over the next four days, there is only one winning smile anybody and everybody within the game is desperate to see here at the prize-giving on Sunday evening. And his unmistakable figure just happens to grace the trophy.

A plane is on stand-by near his home in Pedrena should Severiano Ballesteros feel well enough to travel to Paris. The 52-year-old has recently undergone more radiotherapy treatment for the brain cancer he was struck down with last year. Ballesteros has yet to leave Spain, or appear at any other golf events, since the tumour was diagnosed 11 months ago and will take doctor's advice before making the trip.

The mood here, however, is one of cautious but bubbling optimism, with the Great Britain and Ireland captain, Paul McGinley, calling the chances, "75-25". And even if fatigue does stop the Spaniard putting in an appearance he has already made a mark on the latest renewal of a match first played under his name in 2000. Understandably there has been some bitterness that after the toughest year of his life, the Seve Trophy has been renamed "The Vivendi Trophy with Seve Ballesteros". But all that was forgotten on Tuesday night in the Saint-Nom-La-Bretèche clubhouse.

It was here that McGinley read out an e-mail sent by Ballesteros. "It was quite an emotional letter and there was a lot of thought that went into it," he said. "A lot of points he made were not just about golf, but about life and the position we hold in life – how lucky we are to be who we are and doing what we are doing.

"If you can bring his spirit into the team I think that's all I want to add to the week. Inspiration is the word. He's a special person and has done a huge amount for the European Tour as everybody knows. He wants to leave a legacy and the Seve Trophy is something that he really believes in. I spoke to him twice last week and I know he will do everything he can to be here."

Thomas Bjorn, the captain of Continental Europe concurred. "I don't think we can say enough about him as for what he's done for all of us as players and for the Tour," said the Dane. "If there is a father figure of this Tour, certainly from a player's perspective, it lands on his shoulders. And when it comes to team events, there's not a person that epitomises them more than Seve Ballesteros. That's why it's important this week for Paul and I to pass this on to the younger generation that might not have seen him at his absolute best."

Certainly there are enough young players here who would love the education , although one in particular is hoping Ballesteros arrives. "It would mean an awful lot to all of us, to the players, the fans, the press, everybody," said Rory McIlroy. "I've never met him before and this would be a special time and a special event to do so. His letter was really moving. There was a bit at the end where he said, 'It seemed like only yesterday when I came on Tour. It went so quickly. So make the most of it. Enjoy your time out here, because it doesn't last for long.' That's the part I most remember."

Life and Style
love + sex A new study has revealed the average size - but does that leave men outside the 'normal' range being thought of as 'abnormal'?
Arts and Entertainment
TV
Voices
The Palace of Westminster is falling down, according to John Bercow
voices..says Matthew Norman
Sport
Steve Bruce and Gus Poyet clash
football
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Graham Norton said Irish broadcaster RTE’s decision to settle was ‘moronic’
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jake and Dinos Chapman were motivated by revenge to make 'Bring me the Head of Franco Toselli! '
arts + ents Shapero Modern Gallery to show explicit Chapman Brothers film
Arts and Entertainment
Kurt Cobain performing for 'MTV Unplugged' in New York, shortly before his death
music Brett Morgen's 'Cobain: Montage of Heck' debunks many of the myths
Life and Style
life
Sport
Brendan Rodgers
football The Liverpool manager will be the first option after Pep Guardiola
News
Amazon misled consumers about subscription fees, the ASA has ruled
news
Arts and Entertainment
Myanna Buring, Julian Rhind-Tutt and Russell Tovey in 'Banished'
TV Jimmy McGovern tackles 18th-century crime and punishment
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Whitehouse as Herbert
arts + ents
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn