Seve Trophy Preview
GB and Ireland have beaten Continental Europe in the last six Seve Trophy encounters, but Coral rate them as outsiders when it all kicks off again at the Golf de Saint-Nom-la-Breteche near Paris tomorrow.
It’s 8/15 Europe, 6/4 GB/Ireland and one look at the respective line-ups will tell you why. While captain Jose Maria Olazabal has been able to assemble a pretty strong European side, his counterpart Sam Torrance has been forced to field a number of what can be respectfully termed ‘squad’ players.
There’s no Rory McIlroy, no Luke Donald, no Justin Rose, no Lee Westwood, no Graeme McDowell and, perhaps most important of all, no Ian Poulter, the chief inspiration of the ‘Miracle in Medina.’
In their place is a group of very fine players, including former world number three, Paul Casey, but only Paul Lawrie remains from the most recent Ryder Cup team and it’s a shame that the Seve Trophy, named in honour of one of the best and certainly the most charismatic golfer in European history, doesn’t have the cast list that attachment deserves.
Europe are without Sergio Garcia, Martin Kaymer and the injured Peter Hanson, but Ryder Cup heroes Nicolas Colsearts and Francesco Molinari will be teeing it up in France, along with two of the vice-captains in Medinah, 42-year-old Thomas Bjorn and 49-year-old Miguel Angel Jimenez, who has played in every Seve Trophy since its inception in 2000 (when Europe won for the only time).
Experience counts, of course, but Europe also have some very promising newcomers in their squad, including Thorbjorn Olesen (10/1 to be top European points scorer this weekend, 18/1 top scorer overall), who many think will land a major one day, and Joost Luiten (6/1 and 10/1), winner of the KLM Open last month.
Paul Casey (9/2 and 10/1) is expected to contribute most for GB/Ireland, but Chris Wood, who did so well the last Seve Trophy, securing 4½ points out of 5, catches the eye in these markets at 6/1 and 12/1.
Man for man, Europe have a stronger side than GB/Ireland, judged on the rankings, but as we know, the outcome of these clashes has as much to do with collective desire than individual ability and it would be no surprise if the ‘outsiders’ came through and made it seven victories in a row.
At the very least it should be tight and Coral’s 6/4 GB/Ireland to edge day one is tempting. It’s 10/1 the field the correct scoreline with 14½-13½, 15-13 and 16-12 (all to Europe) heading the market.
Written by Jon Freeman