The Seve Trophy is a celebration of emerging European talent
By: Ross Starkey

Sergio Garcia started the trend to miss the Seve Trophy in 2002 when deciding to play a PGA Tour event instead. With the absence of the top six GB & Ireland qualifiers (Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Graeme McDowell, Ian Poulter, Luke Donald and Lee Westwood) combined with the absence of top Europeans Henrik Stenson and Sergio Garcia, we could all be forgiven for thinking The Seve Trophy has been watered down. Something like ordering a Guinness and being served a weak lager shandy.

Yet the Seve Trophy could still be a vital competition on the European Tour, providing an opportunity for Matchplay experience for the best young talents in European golf.

Players like Matteo Mannesero, Thorbjørn Olesen and Tommy Fleetwood may well be the future stars of a Tour struggling to retain its top attractions from the bright lights and wealth of its American counterpart. And the Seve Trophy provides the opportunity to demonstrate talent that that might one day blossom in future Ryder Cups.

The action gets underway on Thursday at Saint-Nom-La-Bretèch, near Paris, for four days of competition. José María Olazábal and Sam Torrance captain the two teams under the watchful eye of 2014 Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley.

The format is slightly different to the Ryder Cup with five fourball matches being played on each of the first two days. On day three there will be two sessions of four foursomes matches with the final day being ten singles matches.

The GB & Ireland team led by Torrance are: Paul Casey, Stephen Gallacher, Scott Jamieson, Tommy Fleetwood, Simon Khan, Paul Lawrie, David Lynn, Marc Warren, Chris Wood and Jamie Donaldson.

With the Continental Europeans led by Olazábal are: Thomas Björn, Gregory Bourdy, Nicolas Colsearts, Peter Hanson, Mikko Ilonen, Matteo Mannesero, Francesco Molinari, Joost Luiten, Miguel Angel Jiménez and Thorbjørn Olesen.

Whilst there is a lack of Ryder Cup stars in the teams it does represent the talent seen on a weekly basis on the European tour, and Paul McGinley accepts that the competition no longer attracts the top Europeans indicating a shift in its focus:

"As far as I am concerned it will be a great learning experience for the younger guys. That's one of the reasons I chose experienced past Ryder Cup captains Sam and Jose Maria...the younger guys could learn a lot from those two. And this is how I see the future of the Seve Trophy heading, as our leading players are competing in the FedEx Cup each year at the (same) time."

The Seve Trophy definitely isn't the Ryder Cup and it's not trying to be. As more top European players commit themselves to the PGA Tour in America, The Seve Trophy has adopted a different outlook, preferring to celebrate young European talent. For the younger players, playing alongside senior figures like Björn, Lawrie and Jimenéz its also an opportunity to learn about professional matchplay, develop their skills and ultimately entertain the crowds. These are traits in which the trophy's namesake would be justifiably proud of.