Ryder Cup stars turn their backs on event in memory of Seve

Chris Wood believes it is a “shame” that the emotional pull of playing in the event named after the late Seve Ballesteros appears to be waning, less than two-and-a-half years since he died.

Five-time major winner Ballesteros died in May, 2011 and during last year’s Ryder Cup at Medinah, the European team wore the Spaniard’s navy blue and white colours and silhouette on their uniforms in Chicago.

However, many of those same players have opted not to play in this week’s Seve Trophy in France, with Sergio Garcia and Great Britain and Ireland’s top six qualifiers all turning down the chance to play in the biennial event.

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Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Graeme McDowell – who got married at the weekend – Luke Donald, Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter have opted not to compete in Versailles as Sam Torrance’s side attempt to claim a seventh win in succession against a European team captained by Jose Maria Olazabal.

Just three players responsible for the ‘Miracle at Medinah’ – Nicolas Colsaerts, Paul Lawrie and Francesco Molinari – will compete after Peter Hanson was forced out through injury, with Wood echoing Lawrie’s disappointment at the situation.

“It is a strong GB&I team, we are all solid players, but it is disappointing,” said Wood. “It could obviously be a lot stronger and it would make the tournament probably a little bit more appealing. It’s up to them but I thought it was a bit of a shame the guys who are now living in America didn’t want to come over. Two years ago, it was all about Seve and it doesn’t quite seem to be the same now.

“My respect for the bloke... like Paul Lawrie said, he would have walked to Paris and I’m completely in agreement with him.”

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Torrance’s team comprises five Englishmen, four Scots and Welshman Jamie Donaldson, a player Wood would love to partner as he attempts to maintain his unbeaten record from 2009.

“I can’t wait,” added Wood, who won four-and-a-half points from five at the same St Nom La Breteche course which hosts this year’s event. “It’s four years now since I played. I was unbeaten, it was a great week and I miss team stuff.

“I played a lot of football and loved the banter you have with the lads and we don’t play team golf apart from the Ryder Cup and Seve Trophy.

“I played with Jamie Donaldson at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. As long as he can handle the pressure of me currently being unbeaten, you might see us together a couple of times!

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“I said I am happy to play with anyone but I would quite like to play with JD.”

Torrance and Olazabal have been hand-picked by current Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley, leading to speculation that they will be vice-captains to the Dubliner at Gleneagles next year.