Seve puts the shine back on Sunningdale

Tim Glover says Ballesteros is creating an event in his own image

Whatever else Seve Ballesteros does this week, he will not be taking a multi-bogey nine at the 15th hole on the Old Course at Sunningdale. For one thing, there is no turquoise pond in front of the green and for another, it's a par three not a par five. The Seve Ballesteros Trophy is unlikely to be as harsh on its eponymous hero as the Masters, where he finished in last place.

Whether this latest addition to the European Tour remains a significant event on the calendar or merely a one-off, remains to be seen. A 10-man team representing the Continent of Europe, captained by Ballesteros, will play Great Britain and Ireland, led by Colin Montgomerie, in three days of match play from Friday in a format not dissimilar to the Ryder Cup.

The idea for the Seve Ballesteros Trophy came from, er, Seve. "The first event will be played in England," the Spanish maestro said, "because I wish to repay the British people for making Spain the host for the 1997 Ryder Cup. I have also received fantastic support from the British public, whose love for the game is second to none."

Europe, captained by Ballesteros, won the Ryder Cup at Valderrama three years ago but lost it under Mark James in a near meltdown at Brookline last year when the Americans apologised for forgetting theetiquette of the game.

In Spain, Ballesteros was the non-playing captain; at Sunningdale he will be a member of the team, which may not be the greatest news for Europe. He hasn't won anything for five years and from being No 1 in the Order of Merit in 1991, had slumped to 143rd last season. The teams will comprise seven players aside from the top of the Order of Merit from last year, one from the current money list and one wild card plus the captain.

The most notable omission from the match is Nick Faldo, the greatest golfer ever produced by these islands. The word on the grapevine was that Faldo would captain GB and Ireland and the tournament would be played at Chart Hills in Kent, a course he designed. At least that was the word heard by John Simpson, Faldo's manager. The Faldo camp were told to expect a phone call from Seve. They are still waiting.

Instead Faldo was invited to be a mere team member. Last week he declined the offer, announcing he had a prior engagement on the US Tour, the MCI Heritage Classic on Hilton Head Island. Sergio Garcia, Europe's answer to Tiger Woods, had also intimated he would be in America - until he received a call from Seve.

If the event is to have a future as a genuinely competitive fixture rather than an old pals' act, it needs the best players and venues. It also needs a big prize fund and media coverage.

The purse is £1.5m with each member of the winning team receiving £92,000 and the runners-up £55,000 apiece. Amen Corner, the management company owned by Ballesteros and Media Pro, a Spanish-based company that sells TV rights, are jointly promoting the tournament which will be covered by Sky. Europe will be sponsored by Amen Corner and GB and Ireland by Eurobet, an on-line betting concern.

For Sunningdale, celebrating its centenary, the trophy is something of a godsend. The centre piece of their 100th anniversary was to have been the Solheim Cup but the club was jilted at the altar by the ladies who received a better offer from Loch Lomond.

Sunningdale, who have had only seven weeks to prepare, are expecting crowds of up to 30,000 over three days. "Golf is very much an individual sport but everyone knows how passionate I am about team events," Ballesteros said. In his current form perhaps this is just as well.

Ballesteros for one, is taking it very seriously. When it was suggested that players from both teams would share a room in the clubhouse, he insisted on separate facilities. Thus it's Seve, the face that once launched a thousand chips, against Monty, the face that once ate a thousand chips.

The format: Friday 14 April: morning four foursomes matches, afternoon four four- balls. Saturday: morning four greensomes, afternoon four four-balls. Sunday: 10 singles.

News
Sir David Attenborough
people
Life and Style
Young girl and bowl of cereal
food + drink
News
Comic miserablist Larry David in 'Curb Your Enthusiasm'
peopleDirector of new documentary Misery Loves Comedy reveals how he got them to open up
Arts and Entertainment
Henry VIII played by Damien Lewis
tvReview: Scheming queens-in-waiting, tangled lines of succession and men of lowly birth rising to power – sound familiar?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
football
Arts and Entertainment
'The Archers' has an audience of about five million
radioA growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Ready to open the Baftas, rockers Kasabian are also ‘great film fans’
musicExclusive: Rockers promise an explosive opening to the evening
Life and Style
David Bowie by Duffy
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
Hell, yeah: members of the 369th Infantry arrive back in New York
booksWorld War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel
News
advertisingVideo: The company that brought you the 'Bud' 'Weis' 'Er' frogs and 'Wasssssup' ads, has something up its sleeve for Sunday's big match
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
i100
Environment
Dame Vivienne Westwood speaking at a fracking protest outside Parliament on Monday (AP)
environment
Life and Style
tech
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

Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness