Strong European golf team named for Seve Trophy
Jose Maria Olazabal of Spain hits his tee shot on the 18th hole during the 113th US Open at Merion Golf Club on June 14, 2013 in Ardmore, Pennsylvania
The Spaniard, who led a remarkable comeback during the 2012 Ryder Cup when they defeated the United States in Chicago on a dramatic final day, has been given the job of prying the Seve Trophy from Great Britain and Ireland after a run of six straight defeats.
The matchplay tournament, named after Olazabal's legendary friend and former Ryder Cup partner Severiano Ballesteros, will be played at the Saint-Nom-la-Breteche golf club just outside Paris for the third straight time between October 3 and 6.
Ballesteros died in 2011 at the age of 54 from brain cancer.
Veterans Thomas Bjorn of Denmark and Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez have been named as Olazabal's vice-captains, while Italian duo Francesco Molinari and Matteo Manassero are also in the side as well as Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts, Swede Peter Hanson and Finland’s Mikko Ilonen.
Three players make their debut in the tournament that will be the eighth edition and won only once by the Europeans, when Ballesteros captained the first team in 2000 to victory over Colin Montgomerie's GB and Irl team.
In-form Frenchman Gregory Bourdy gets a taste of the team competition which serves as ideal preparation for next year's Ryder Cup at Gleneagles, while Dutchman Joost Luiten and Dane Thorbjorn Olesen are also included.
"It is a tournament and a competition that was very close to Seve’s heart, and we will have to show some of his fighting spirit to win this year and improve on our recent record," said Olazabal who captains the team for the second time after losing against Montgomerie in 2005.
"It’s not going to be easy as the Great Britain & Ireland Team is also strong and they have dominated in recent years, but I’m looking forward to working with my players and hopefully we can do it."
Torrance meanwhile has been deprived of several big names including former world number one Rory McIlroy and US Open winners, Justin Rose and Graeme McDowell.
Luke Donald, Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter will also all be absent.
Scotland’s Paul Lawrie, another member of last year’s historic Ryder Cup team at the so called 'Miracle at Medinah' is in the side as well as three-time Ryder Cup veteran Paul Casey of England.
Another Englishman, Chris Wood, who was undefeated on his last appearance in 2009, is back for more and Scotland’s Marc Warren, who was on the winning side in 2007, is also part of the ten player team.
Welshman Jamie Donaldson and Scotland’s Scott Jamieson, who won under current Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley in 2011, will lend experience to the four debutants, with the English trio of Tommy Fleetwood, David Lynn, and Simon Khan joined by Scotland’s Stephen Gallacher getting their first taste of the team event.
"I think we have got a good blend of players in the team, and I’m really looking forward to working with all of them," said Torrance.
"We have a couple of Ryder Cup players in Paul Casey and Paul Lawrie, the latter being an Open Champion, and the debutants are very strong.
"So we have a lot of experience in the team, as does the Continental Europe Team, and it promises to be an exciting contest next week.
"I’ve a few ideas about pairings already, and hopefully we can retain the trophy and make it seven in a row."