Great Britain and Ireland cruised into a 11.5–6.5 lead over Continental Europe, having dominated the opening matches of the Seve Trophy in Saint-Nom-la-Bretèche, France. On the final day, with GB&I only needing to pick up 2.5 points in the singles to retain the trophy and with Lee Westwood racing into an early 3-hole lead in the opening match, it seemed the writing was on the wall for Continental Europe.
However, as the day developed, it turned out not to be the procession many had predicted. Thomas Bjorn squared the match with Westwood after 11 holes, going on to win 2&1, then Continental Europe won the following 4 matches to level the scores at 11.5 apiece.
In an afternoon reminiscent of the amazing turnaround in Brookline by the US Ryder Cup Team of 1999, an unthinkable European victory seemed a distinct possibility. Finally, a tightly contested halve from Englishman, David Horsey and Belgium’s Nicolas Colsaerts, halted Continental Europe’s run of victories. Scott Jamieson then provided a critical point to GB&I by beating Pablo Larrazábal, before a crucial birdie on the 18th from Ian Poulter saw him defeat the young Italian, Matteo Manassero. All this meant that Mark Foster’s narrow victory over Raphaël Jacquelin was enough to retain the Seve Trophy for GB&I for the 6th consecutive occasion.
In a day where 7 of the 10 matches were either halved, or won by only one hole, the Seve Trophy once again provided compulsive viewing and a fitting tribute to the late Seve Ballesteros.
European Golf has a lot to thank Seve for: As a player, he inspired young players to take up the game and captured the hearts of millions with his dramatic, high-risk approach to attaining victory. Seve was the talisman for consecutive European Ryder Cup teams, before going on to captain Team Europe to one of it’s most famous victories in 1997 at Valderrama, Spain.
He established the Seve Trophy to allow European golf to be showcased on a global scale and did so much to expand the brand of European Tour Golf globally. Optimal Analysis were fortunate to have a strong relationship with Seve through the Seve Ballesteros Golf Academy and we feel strongly that the European Tour should formally honour Seve by changing their logo to incorporate an image of this much-missed legend of the game.
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