Big names to compete in Seve Trophy

Tue, 06 Sep 15:38:00 2011

World number two Lee Westwood and Open champion Darren Clarke will lead the Britain and Ireland team in next week's Seve Trophy match against continental Europe, organisers said on Tuesday.

Britain's Lee Westwood smiles after scoring eagle on the 16th green during the third round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland, June 18, 2011 - 0

World number 18 Ian Poulter is also in the Britain and Ireland side that will attempt to retain the trophy they won two years ago.

"It is a huge boost players of the calibre of Lee, Darren and Ian have opted to play in Paris. These are players with big worldwide reputations and impressive Ryder Cup pedigrees," Britain and Ireland captain Paul McGinley said in a statement.

"I think we have an extremely strong side with a good blend of youth and experience," the Irishman added.

European Ryder Cup captain Jose Maria Olazabal, however, was disappointed Martin Kaymer, Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell, Paul Casey and Robert Karlsson did not make themselves available for the event.

"I'm sad all our top players are not going to be playing in the match after Seve's death this year," Olazabal told reporters as he practised ahead of this week's Dutch Open at Hilversum.

"But I also know the top players in the world have commitments like the FedExCup in America, getting world ranking points and in (world number one) Luke Donald's case trying to finish top of the European and U.S. money lists.

"They cannot appear at every event and I am sorry they won't be there but because I understand their situation I certainly will not hold it against them at the Ryder Cup in a year's time," added the Spaniard.

The European team for the Seve Trophy includes six players in the world's top 50 including in-form Dane Thomas Bjorn, who has won back-to-back tour titles in the last two weeks, Italian teenager Matteo Manassero and experienced Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez.

"It is great to see so many great champions in the field and so many fantastic young prospects like Matteo Manassero," said Continental Europe captain Jean Van de Velde.

"With eight rookies in the two teams it means 40 percent of the sides are newcomers to the Seve Trophy and this will be great preparation for the day they step up to play in the Ryder Cup."

The event takes place from Sept. 15-18 with a series of fourballs, greensomes, foursomes and singles matches.

Britain and Ireland have won the trophy five times and Europe once since it was launched by five-times major champion Seve Ballesteros.

Britain and Ireland - Lee Westwood (England), Ian Poulter (England), Darren Clarke (Northern Ireland), Ross Fisher (England), Robert Rock (England), Simon Dyson (England), Jamie Donaldson (Wales), David Horsey (England), Mark Foster (England), Scott Jamieson (Scotland).

Europe - Thomas Bjorn (Denmark), Matteo Manassero (Italy), Alex Noren (Sweden), Francesco Molinari (Italy), Pablo Larrazabal (Spain), Alvaro Quiroz (Spain), Nicolas Colsaerts (Belgium), Miguel Angel Jimenez (Spain), Anders Hansen (Denmark), Peter Hanson (Sweden)

Reuters

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