As the only Frenchman in the Continental Europe team much of the focus will inevitably be on Grégory Bourdy in Paris this week, but it is a Spaniard from whom he has drawn inspiration as he prepares to make his debut in the Seve Trophy by Golf+.
They say the Lord moves in mysterious ways, and perhaps the man upstairs was giving Bourdy a sign as he and his girlfriend Annabelle browsed the DVD collection of the St Andrews B&B in which they were staying during last week’s Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
Bourdy explained: “It was actually my girlfriend who found the movie about the life and times of Seve [Ballesteros]. So we started watching it that night, then finished it the night after. It was good to remember and relive all the great moments in his career, because he was a great champion and an unbelievable player. It was very exciting to watch, and perfect timing the week before the Seve Trophy. It’s always good to remember what he did for the game of golf, and especially this week.
“I only have great memories of Seve. I watched him on TV all the time, and I also watched him in Bordeaux when he played with José María at Golf du Medoc.
It was so exciting to see him up close, he played shots which nobody else would even think of playing. I’m sure he’ll be in all our thoughts this week.”
Seve’s great friend José María Olazábal is, of course, the man charged with guiding Bourdy and Co to victory over their Great Britain & Ireland counterparts.
Bourdy, who won his fourth European Tour title at last month’s ISPS Handa Wales Open, believes the man affectionately known as “Chema” has all the inspirational qualities needed to end GB&I’s recent dominance of the event.
He said: “José María is a friend and someone I have a lot of respect for. He’s such a great champion, but is also so simple and kind with everybody. It’s difficult to think of a better captain than him. It’ll mean a lot for me and all my team-mates to play for him, and I think we’re all going to remember this week for a very long time.”
As the sole French representative in Olazábal’s ten-man team, Bourdy can expect to attract a large following at Saint-Nom-La-Bretèche, but if the 31 year old is under any extra pressure to perform for his home fans, he is certainly not showing it.
He said: “It’ll be my first time playing the Seve Trophy, so it’s going to be very exciting and I’m really looking forward to it – especially as I know Saint-Nom-La-Bretèche so well. It’s a lovely course and I love the area, so I’m sure I’ll feel very comfortable there.
“Hopefully I will have some good support, and I think it’s important to have at least one Frenchman in the team. Two years ago, Raphaël [Jacquelin] was the only Frenchman, and I think Grégory [Havret] was the only one four years ago. So I have spoken to them about what to expect. I won’t feel more pressure, I’m just happy to be in the team and I’m sure it’s going to be a great week.”