I’ve been following the back-and-forth bickering and barb-trading regarding the Seve Trophy for the past several weeks, and I must say that I find it very unfortunate for a number of reasons.
The crux of the issue, obviously, is the absence of top European players participating in the event, a problem that there is simply no getting around, and a problem that has existed going all the way back to 2000 when Ballesteros came up with the idea. In fact – Jose Maria Olazabal became so frustrated with the lack of support from Europe’s big names that he basically drew a proverbial line in the sand two years ago, issuing a direct challenge to those he felt needed to be there supporting the event.
“In two years time we are hoping this event moves to the week of the Presidents Cup, and after the end of the FedEx Cup, and if that is the case there will be no excuse not to be present,” Olazabal said in an interview back in September of 2011. “We all know how instrumental Seve had been to the growth of the European Tour. I know the younger generation did not have the chance to play when Seve was around but we are here playing on the European Tour in many ways because of Seve.
“But Seve was the first man who was instrumental in turning things around on the European Tour for the better and the younger players now on the European Tour need to remember that. They should make a little extra effort and make this event what it deserves to be. So that will be the idea of moving it so that there are no more excuses.”
Two years have passed, and the Seve Trophy will be played next weekend, as planned, opposite the Presidents Cup event being held the same weekend. Except the big names, once again, won’t be there.
Tom English poignantly captured the essence of the growing Seve Trophy brouhaha in THIS article over at The Scotsman earlier today.
“The finest Europeans don’t play in it. Sponsors don’t want much to do with it. Crowds can take it or leave it. It has no edge and no passion and no real relevance. It is the polar opposite of what Ballesteros represented,” English began in the article.
“It’s all pretty sad,” English continued. “It’s like the begging bowl is out on behalf of the late Spaniard. You want Europe’s finest to be in Paris but only if they want to be there, not because they feel they have to be there because of peer pressure or because they’re getting grief from some punters on social media, as happened last week with Poulter and Westwood.”
But despite his obvious understanding of the why’s and how’s of the event’s demise, his closing remarks hit the bullseye.
“In an ideal world all of these guys would come together and celebrate the legend that was Seve every two years. But, hang on, isn’t that what the Ryder Cup has become? A Seve appreciation society. A time to remember the great man and give thanks for all he did for European golf. The Ryder Cup is passion and drama and unpredictability played out on a world stage. It is the greatest show in golf. A thrill-fest. In a word, Seve.
The Ryder Cup is the rightful monument to Ballesteros. It doesn’t need a poor imitation, even if the imitation is one that Seve created himself. There comes a time when you have to stop flogging a dead horse and let it be.
Gleneagles next year is the best place to celebrate Seve all over again.”
Well said, Mr. Tom. The horse is dead, the time for flogging has ended. Without support from the big European names, which is both disappointing yet at the same time understandable, maybe it’s time this chapter of Seve’s legacy is closed.
Not so much to remove the awkwardness from the Westwood’s, Poulter’s and McIlroy’s of the game because of their habitual no-shows, but more so because Seve’s legacy deserves better.