Friday, May 03, 2013


José María Olazábal has pleaded with his Ryder Cup heroes to commit to the Vivendi Seve Trophy as fears intensify over the immediate future of the match named in honour of the great Spaniard.
Next Tuesday is the second anniversary of Ballesteros’s death from brain cancer. 

Yet, despite all the promises made about his legacy in the immediate wake of his passing at the age of 54, there are doubts about the Seve Trophy’s continued existence.
Olazábal, picture by courtesy of Getty Images(c), has heard the downbeat rumours and is clearly desperate for the survival of the 13-year-old match that pitches Great Britain and Ireland against Continental Europe, even though some notable figures have suggested October’s biennial match could even be in danger.
“It would be a great shame if we lose this event,” Olazábal told Telegraph Sport this week. “I would love to see the involvement for the top players for that event, their commitment would help in terms on sponsorship, TV and making it a bigger spectacle.”
When contacted by the Telegraph, the European Tour confirmed that the Seve Trophy was still on this year’s schedule, but did not reveal why “TBA” was still displayed next to the event on the Tour’s official website. Vivendi is the named sponsor, the French media company having taken over in 2009 and having hosted the past two matches at Saint-Nom-la-Bretèche, near Versailles.
The Tour remains hopeful of confirming the venue and date, but does so with pessimistic whispers swirling on the range. The relationship between the Tour and Ballesteros’s brothers has been strained, while the financial downturn on the continent has acted as another hurdle.
And, as Olazábal noted, the top players have been reluctant to find room for it in their packed schedules. The guaranteed attendance of European heavyweights such as Rory McIlroy, Sergio García and Justin Rose would serve as a huge boost.
There are emotional reasons for Olazábal to hold the Seve Trophy in such high esteem. He formed a legendary partnership with Ballesteros and is only one of many who believes that both the Ryder Cup and the European Tour owe much of their popularity to his friend’s influence.
Yet Olazábal also believes there is a genuine sporting justification for the Seve Trophy, in its role as a dress rehearsal for bigger events.
“The Seve Trophy is a fantastic event in terms of being a stepping stone, not only for some of the players but also the captains,” he said.
“Look at Paul McGinley. He has been a great supporter of the event and has learned a lot about captaincy and the team room. Monty [Colin Montgomerie] did as well – he got a lot of info from the Seve Trophy. And there’s also the bond that it creates between the players, which they can take into the Ryder Cup. It would be a real shame if it went.”
McGinley had planned to lobby the top players to appear in this year’s match, while the European Tour is putting its faith in a new regulation providing powerful persuasion.
Keith Waters, the tour’s chief operating officer, said: “The Vivendi Seve Trophy is on the 2013 European Tour schedule and, with the change in our regulations we announced last November, which sees the tournament now counting towards the minimum number of 13 our members must participate in to obtain inclusion in the Race to Dubai, we are looking forward to a strong field in action in October.”
However, the truth is that they can reach 13 without taking part in the Seve Trophy. So, maybe the emotional argument is more likely to save the event.
Those such as Olazábal and McGinley can only pray that it will.



Post a Comment

<< Home

Copyright © Colin Farquharson

If you can't find what you are looking for.... please check the Archive List or search this site with Google