Westwood and Bjorn headline teams for Vivendi Seve Trophy in Paris

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World No. 2 Lee Westwood is playing in the vivendi Seve Trophy for the first time since 2003.
PA Sport

Series: European Tour

Published: Tuesday, September 06, 2011 | 11:54 a.m.

Defending champion Britain and Ireland have been hit much harder by withdrawals than Continental Europe for next week's Vivendi Seve Trophy in Paris.

Although boosted by world No. 2 Lee Westwood playing in the match for the first time since 2003 and Ian Poulter returning from the United States for it, Captain Paul McGinley's side is still without four of the world's top 20.


At the encouragement of Seve Ballesteros, the European Tour created the Vivendi Seve Trophy in 2000 as a Ryder Cup-style event to be played in non-Ryder Cup years.

No. 1 Luke Donald's absence was almost inevitable given he is still in the FedEx Cup playoffs on the PGA Tour, but Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell and Paul Casey have also turned down the match. So too have Martin Laird and Justin Rose because of the playoffs.

All that has allowed Ross Fisher to keep his place on the team and Scotland's Scott Jamieson, Welshman Jamie Donaldson and England's David Horsey to make their Seve Trophy debuts. There will also be a first appearance for Westwood's Worksop, England, colleague Mark Foster.

Missing for Continental Europe, captained by Jean Van de Velde, are world No. 3 Martin Kaymer -- he wants to rest between his defenses of the KLM Open and Dunhill Links Championship -- and FedExCup survivors Robert Karlsson and Sergio Garcia.

Europe’s first-timers will be Italian teenager Matteo Manassero, Swede Alex Noren, Spaniard Pablo Larrazabal and Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts, who has not played since suffering an elbow injury in a scooter crash just before the British Open in July.

The first five on each side were decided by the world rankings and the next five by the European Tour money list.

Manassero, at 18 years and 152 days, is the youngest player in the history of the competition, beating the record held by Sergio Garcia, who was 20 years and 96 days in the inaugural contest at Sunningdale in 2000.

McGinley will be aiming to maintain his 100 percent record in the event, having won it as a player in 2006 and 2007 and as captain two years ago on the same Saint Nom la Breteche course where next week's match takes place.

"It is a huge boost for our team that players of the calibre of Lee, Darren and Ian have opted to play next week,” said MCGinley, who is also a winner in his three Ryder Cups. "These are players with big worldwide reputations and impressive Ryder Cup pedigrees.

"I think we have an extremely strong side with a good blend of youth and experience and I am certain that our four rookies will learn an enormous amount from playing with the likes of Lee and Darren, who have performed at a very elite level for many years.

"It is certain that many of the members of our team will go on to represent Europe in the Ryder Cup, so this experience of team golf cannot be underestimated."

Van de Velde commented: "I would like to thank my Continental side for making the effort to play. We have a very strong team and GB&I will also benefit from having Lee and Darren in their line-up. It has the making of a very exciting and close contest.

"With eight rookies in the two teams it means that 40 per cent of the sides are newcomers and this will be great preparation for the day they step up to play in the Ryder Cup,” he added. "We are 5-1 down in the series and I hope we can reverse the trend."

Half of last year's Ryder Cup team will play -- Westwood, Poulter, Fisher, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Francesco Molinari and Peter Hanson -- while McGinley, Open champion Darren Clarke and Thomas Bjorn, who are also involved, were there as assistants to Colin Montgomerie.

The teams play will fourballs, greensomes, foursomes and singles over the four days.

The fiull line-ups include:

Britain and Ireland: Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter, Darren Clarke, Simon Dyson, Ross Fisher, Mark Foster, Robert Rock, Jamie Donaldson, David Horsey, Scott Jamieson.

Continental Europe: Francesco Molinari, Anders Hansen, Thomas Bjorn, Matteo Manassero, Alvaro Quiros, Alex Noren, Pablo Larrazabal, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Nicolas Colsaerts, Peter Hanson.