Stars shun chance to stake a Ryder claim in memory of Seve

 

Saint-Nom-la-Bretèche

The tears will flow freely at the opening ceremony of the Seve Trophy here this morning and will doubtless continue when Ballesteros's friend and countryman Miguel Angel Jimenez so aptly hits the opening drive. Yet the emotion will be tinged with "disappointment" at the high-profile stay-aways.

This supposed dress rehearsal for the Ryder Cup has been running since 2000, but there is obvious resonance in this, the year the great Spaniard died of cancer. On his passing, aged just 54, the modern superstars all spoke of the necessity to honour Ballesteros. But now, just four months later, three of the four top-ranked European players aren't here in Versailles to do any honouring.

Lee Westwood is the sole representative of that quartet. Luke Donald is, quite understandably, in Chicago trying to win the FedEx Cup, while Rory McIlroy and Martin Kaymer are both "resting". The latter is presumably true of Graeme McDowell and Paul Casey, who also opted out despite not featuring in the penultimate leg of the US play-offs.

"I didn't get involved in cajoling the players to play," said Paul McGinley, chosen by Jose Maria Olazabal as the Great Britain and Ireland captain. "Ollie's overseeing everything this week. He wrote to all the players and spoke to them personally."

Olazabal, the Ryder Cup captain who made a speech to the two teams here on Tuesday evening, has expressed that he is "saddened" by the absentees and McGinley echoed that sentiment. "Of course I'm disappointed they aren't here," he said. "I would love for them to be here. I want the strongest teams possible. But, you know, it is what it is, and we move on."

McGinley was more keen to discuss the merits of the heavyweights who have turned up. "I can't thank Ian [Poulter], Darren [Clarke] and Lee [Westwood] enough," said the Dubliner, whose candidature as a future Ryder Cup captain will once again be under scrutiny. "Wearing my hat for the future of the Seve Trophy, the legacy that Seve wants left behind, I can't speak highly enough for them committing. It was a huge thing for them to play and it's a huge boost for the European Tour and the future of this tournament."

Indeed, the fear is what happens in two years' time. Who will play then? The presence of the garlanded trio at least lends the biennial event, which pits Great Britain and Ireland against Continental Europe, some lustre. While they will inevitably command the attention in the four-day match which starts today with five fourballs, the Continental team led by France's Jean van de Velde actually boasts more strength in depth. And in Matteo Manassero there is an 18-year-old many acclaim as heir proper to the Ballesteros legend.

The Italian is the Seve Trophy's youngest ever player, with all the panache worthy of the title. "It's great to be here," he said. "It's an honour to be in an event named after Seve."

Match schedule

Today Fourballs: 10.35am (BST): M A Jimenez (Sp) & P Larrazabal (Sp) v S Dyson (Eng) & J Donaldson (Wal). 10.50am: P Hanson (Swe) & R Jacquelin (Fr) v S Jamieson (Scot) & R Fisher (Eng). 11.05am: A Hansen (Den) & F Molinari (It) v M Foster (Eng) & L Westwood (Eng); 11.20am: N Colsaerts (Bel) & M Manassero (It) v D Clarke (N Irl) & D Horsey (Eng); 11.35am T Bjorn (Den) & A Noren (Swe) v R Rock (Eng) & I Poulter (Eng).

Tomorrow Five fourballs.

Saturday Four foursomes, four fourballs.

Sunday 10 singles.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?
Season's finale brings the end of an era for top coaches and players across the continent

The end of an era across the continent

It's time to say farewell to Klopp, Clement, Casillas and Xavi this weekend as they move on to pastures new, reports Pete Jenson
Bin Laden documents released: Papers reveal his obsession with attacking the US and how his failure to keep up with modern jihad led to Isis

'Focus on killing American people'

Released Bin Laden documents reveal obsession with attacking United States
Life hacks: The innovations of volunteers and medical workers are helping Medécins Sans Frontières save people around the world

Medécins Sans Frontières's life hacks

The innovations of volunteers and medical workers around the world are helping the charity save people
Ireland's same-sex marriage vote: As date looms, the Irish ask - how would God vote?

Same-sex marriage

As date looms, the Irish ask - how would God vote?
The underworld is going freelance: Why The Godfather's Mafia model is no longer viable

The Mafia is going freelance

Why the underworld model depicted in The Godfather is no longer viable