The qualification process for The 2003 Seve Trophy, to be played at Campo de Golf Parador El Saler Valencia, Spain, on November 7-9, with the support of the Official Sponsor, Comunitat Valencia, the government of the Valencia region, will be similar to that for The 2004 Ryder Cup Matches.
Both the Continental Europe and Great Britain and Ireland teams will be made up of four players from the Official World Golf Ranking, four more from the Volvo Order of Merit and one selected by the captain. In the event of a top-four player in the Official World Golf Ranking also being in the top four in the Volvo Order of Merit then the next best in the latter will come in.
The qualifying process began with the BMW Asian Open, the first event on The 2003 European Tour International Schedule, and the teams will be finalised following the Telefonica Open de Madrid at Club de Campo, Madrid, Spain, on October 23-26. Prize Money for The Seve Trophy will be €2.2 million. Each member of the winning team will earn €150,000. The members of the losing team will each receive €70,000.
Seve Ballesteros, who will captain the Continental Europe team for a third successive time, said: “We are delighted to confirm this process which will ensure that the best players on current form qualify for both teams. It will provide golf fans in Spain for the match and those watching on television around the world with a fantastic spectacle and another very close match.”
Colin Montgomerie, the captain of the Great Britain and Ireland team, said: “The Seve Trophy proved its value to European golfers when we regained The Ryder Cup from the Americans last year. The prospect of playing Seve and his team in Spain is really exciting.”
This will be the third Seve Trophy following the inaugural match at Sunningdale, Berkshire, England, in 2000 when Continental Europe won 13½-12½ after a titanic encounter in which Seve Ballesteros – after whom the trophy was named – beat Colin Montgomerie in the singles. In 2002 The Seve Trophy unfolded at Druids Glen, County Wicklow, Ireland, when Great Britain and Ireland won 14½-11½ despite Ballesteros again winning his singles match against Montgomerie.
Ken Schofield, Executive Director of The European Tour, said: “We can look forward once again to another enthralling edition of The Seve Trophy on another outstanding golf course. We are delighted to have re-introduced The Seve Trophy to The 2003 European Tour International Schedule following the announcement in Valencia that the commercial funding paramount to this and any other event had been confirmed with the superb support of Comunitat Valencia. In these uncertain economic times acquiring such support, and essential funding, is challenging for all our promoters and ourselves.”
The three day match, named in honour of Seve Ballesteros, winner of the Open Golf Championship in 1979, 1984 and 1988, the Masters Tournament in 1980 and 1983, 50 European Tour Titles and no fewer than 87 titles in all worldwide, comprises two series of foursomes and one series each of fourballs and greensomes followed by ten singles matches.
Ballesteros, who played in eight Ryder Cup Matches and was the winning Captain in the 1997 match at Valderrama, Spain, said: “The first Seve Trophy at Sunningdale was one of the proudest moments of my career – to have a trophy in my name and then to win it.
“I am equally proud, after the editions that took place in England and Ireland, that The 2003 Seve Trophy is being played at El Saler. It was my wish to bring the event to my country, and it will be very special for me and for Spanish golf.
“I am very grateful for the interest and effort put forward by Comunitat Valencia in order that the event can take place in their region and, of course, in Spain. In my opinion the Parador El Saler is the best links course outside of Britain and Ireland.”
The association of the Official Sponsor, Comunitat Valencia, with the event forms part of the local government’s promotional strategy to position and maintain the region as a prime tourist, golfing and leisure destination worldwide.
Mr Roc Gregori, Subsecretary of Tourism for Comunitat Valencia, stressed the following: “This tournament represents a great opportunity to promote the region of Valencia in Great Britain and Ireland, as Severiano Ballesteros’s team will be facing their team, and it will be broadcast on the BBC, which will lead to great coverage in both the national and international media. Furthermore, the Region of Valencia is increasingly promoting the golf courses in the provinces until we become a major reference point in the golf tourism industry.”
The Golf Course Parador El Saler was designed by Javier Arana and is ranked among the top ten golf courses in Europe, according to the Golf Digest panel. It has been the venue for Spanish Open Championships on three occasions – in 1984, 1989 and 2001. The course record for the 6,355 metre, par 72 links is held by Germany’s Bernhard Langer, who shot 62 in 1984.
A worldwide television audience of many millions is guaranteed for the tournament. Spain’s Canal Plus will be the host broadcaster and the BBC will screen live coverage in the UK. Coverage will also be beamed to major networks in Asia, Australia, Japan, Latin America and the United States.