Stay-away stars so wrong to snub Seve

2013 09 Sevetrophy
This time last year, Europe staged arguably the greatest comeback in sporting history when they rescued an epic Ryder Cup victory from the jaws of defeat at Medinah.

Almost to a man, the 12 players said that the inspiration for the stunning final day comeback was Seve Ballesteros, the late Spaniard whose 'never give up' swashbuckling approach to the game won him five majors and transformed the Ryder Cup fortunes of teams representing this side of the Atlantic.

"As soon as I came off the green, my first thought was for Seve," said Justin Rose after beating Phil Mickelson in their singles match last year. Ian Poulter added: "I owe it to Seve for me being here."

No doubt they meant it. Not for a second would I dare to suggest that these words were uttered without any substance to them. But what I will say is this: for Seve to have meant that much to them, their decision to skip this week's event which bears the great man's name is rather sad.

The top six qualifiers for the GB&I side to play in the match against Continental Europe in France have all decided to pass on the opportunity.

Rose and Poulter are two, the other four being Graeme McDowell, Rory McIlroy, Lee Westwood and Luke Donald. All of them played their part in last year's 'Miracle at Medinah'.

The official reason for their absence is the same as it always is: sponsors commitments and/or a scheduling conflict. However, there is no PGA Tour event being played opposite the match, so those must be some pretty important sponsors the guys have got.
In the grand scheme of things, the Seve Trophy just isn't a priority for some of the game's top players

Look, the way the game is these days, it's impossible for players to play every event. Life as a tour pro, whilst glamorous and lucrative, is also demanding. Players need their down-time as much as any other working man. But, by the same token, one of the perks of being your own boss - as professional golfers are - is that you can pick and choose your own schedule. In other words, if they wanted to play in the Seve Trophy, they would.

Fact is, they don't. Plain and simple. Let's not dress it up any other way. In the grand scheme of things, the Seve Trophy just isn't a priority for some of the game's top players, which is absolutely fine.

But, likewise, it's at odds with the rich praise they lavish on Seve and his far-reaching influence any time they are asked about him. It's one event, every second year, honouring a man you insist is your idol. And you can't make it?

Respected golf writer John Huggan hit the nail on the head last week when he tweeted: "It's fine not to play... Sort of... But don't say Seve is your hero then ignore the event named after him." Rightly or wrongly, people will now interpret these players' praise of him as B/S because, well, actions speak louder than words.

On the plus side, the absence of the aforementioned players has created an opportunity for four Scots - Stephen Gallacher, Paul Lawrie (who was himself criticial of the stay-away contingent last week), Marc Warren and Scott Jamieson - to represent a Sam Torrance-led GB&I this week. Here's hoping they get the job done and show the stay-away crowd exactly what they're missing.

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