Paul McGinley will lead Great Britain and Ireland with Jean Van de Velde captaining Continental Europe when the Vivendi Seve Trophy returns to St- Nom- la Bretèche in Paris, France, from September 15 – 18.
The biennial contest was instigated by the late Seve Ballesteros in 2000 as a team competition to be contested in non-Ryder Cup years, and the two 2011 captains were delighted to accept their invitations to fill the non-playing roles from Europe’s 2012 Ryder Cup Captain, José Maria Olazábal.
As Ballesteros’s closest friend and compatriot, Olazábal accepted the honour of selecting the next two captains for the seventh edition of the Vivendi Seve Trophy. Irishman McGinley reprises his role as GB & I captain following his 2009 success at the same venue, when his charges beat Continental Europe 16½-11½. Frenchman Van de Velde will enjoy his first taste of captaincy by succeeding Dane Thomas Björn.
McGinley, 44, played an instrumental role as a vice captain to Colin Montgomerie in Europe’s thrilling Ryder Cup victory over the United States in The 2010 Ryder Cup. He has always been passionate about the team format and played in three consecutive winning Ryder Cup Teams in 2002, 2004 and 2006, holing the winning putt on his debut appearance. He has also been on the victorious teams for Ireland in the World Cup and Europe in the Royal Trophy.
Van de Velde has two victories to his name during a 23-year career on The European Tour, coming close to winning The Open Championship in 1999. He played in The Ryder Cup that year and was part of the victorious Continental European team in the inaugural Seve Trophy the following season. The 45 year old has also represented France in the World Cup on 12 occasions.
McGinley said: “It’s a great honour to be invited back as captain, and it’s something that I’m really looking forward to. I enjoyed it enormously last time, so I was delighted to be asked again. I’m looking forward to going up against Jean, and it’s good to have a Frenchman involved on French soil, because that’s important for the future of the tournament. With the excitement of France being awarded The Ryder Cup, I’m sure the event will be well supported.
“Obviously with Seve’s sad passing earlier this year, there will be added poignancy, particularly with José Maria being involved. Two years ago Seve was in our thoughts, both in the team room and outside. I’m sure he’ll be looking
down on us, and hopefully we can put on an event worthy of him.”
Van de Velde commented: “I was privileged to take part in the very first Seve Trophy at Sunningdale and to be part of the winning team captained by Seve. Captaining the Continental Europe side will be a completely new experience for me and I am honoured to be nominated for the role by José Maria at a venue I know so well in St- Nom- la Bretèche, where I played my first Trophée Lancôme in 1989.
“Paul McGinley is a good friend but he has a head start on me, having captained Great Britain and Ireland to victory in 2009, so that is extra pressure! However I am looking forward to it immensely. I am certain we will receive great support from the French public and I really hope the players make the maximum effort to take part and honour the memory of one of golf’s true greats.”
Jean Louis Dutaret , President and CEO, Canal+Events, said: “Canal+, the organiser of the second French edition of the Vivendi Seve Trophy, welcomes José Maria Olazábal ‘s selections as team captains. Undoubtedly, those two great players and their team members will contribute significantly to Seve’s memory and pay the best possible homage to this outstanding man.”
The event comprises two teams of ten players, who play fourballs, greensomes, foursomes and singles over the four days. Qualification for the teams began at the Alfred Dunhill Championship in December 2010 and finishes after the Omega European Masters on September 4. The top five players in the Official World Golf Ranking and the top five in The Race to Dubai Rankings will qualify.
The Vivendi Seve Trophy has been played six times, with Continental Europe winning the first edition at Sunningdale in England while Great Britain and Ireland have won the last five matches.