Chris Wood believes it is a “shame” the emotional pull of playing in the event named after the late Seve Ballesteros appears to be waning, less than two and a half years after he died.
Five-times major winner Ballesteros died in May 2011 but his legacy hung heavily over last year’s Ryder Cup at Medinah, with the European team wearing the Spaniard’s navy blue and white colours with a silhouette of him on their bags.
However, many of those same players have opted not to play in this week’s Seve Trophy in France, with Sergio Garcia and Great Britain and Ireland’s top six qualifiers all turning down the chance to play in the biennial event.
Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Graeme McDowell – who got married at the weekend – Luke Donald, Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter have all opted out of competing in Versailles as Sam Torrance’s side attempt to claim a seventh win in succession against a European team captained by Jose Maria Olazabal.
Only three players responsible for the “Miracle at Medinah” – Nicolas Colsaerts, Paul Lawrie and Francesco Molinari – will take part after Peter Hanson was forced out through injury, with Wood echoing Lawrie’s disappointment at the situation.
“It is a strong GB&I team, we are all solid players, but it is disappointing,” Wood said. “It could obviously be a lot stronger and it would make the tournament probably a little bit more appealing.
“It’s up to them but I thought it was a bit of a shame the guys who are now living in America didn’t want to come over. Two years ago it was all about Seve and it doesn’t quite seem to be the same now.
“My respect for the bloke [Seve] – Paul Lawrie said he would have walked to Paris and I’m completely in agreement with him.”
Torrance’s team is made up of five Englishmen, four Scots and Welshman Jamie Donaldson, a player Wood would love to partner as he attempts to maintain his unbeaten record from 2009.
“I can’t wait,” added Wood, who won four and a half points out of five at the same St Nom La Breteche course which hosts this year’s event. “It’s four years now since I played. I was unbeaten, it was a great week and I miss team stuff.
“I played a lot of football and loved the banter you have with the lads. We don’t play team golf apart from the Ryder Cup and Seve Trophy.
“I played with Jamie Donaldson at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. As long as he can handle the pressure of me currently being unbeaten, you might see us together a couple of times!
“Sam emailed me this week and I said I am happy to play with anyone but I would quite like to play with JD. We are pretty good mates and it’s always entertaining.”
Torrance and Olazabal have been handpicked as captains by current Ryder Cup skipper Paul McGinley, leading to speculation that they will be vice-captains to the Dubliner at Gleneagles next year. “I was 14 when Sam was Ryder Cup captain and I actually went to The Belfry to watch,” Wood added. “I got to know him briefly since I’ve been on tour but don’t know him that well.
“I am sure he will be good but he is up against Jose Maria. After Medinah he has to be full of confidence and regarded just as highly.”
The event takes place over four days, with five fourball matches today and tomorrow, two sessions of four foursomes matches on Saturday and ten singles matches on Sunday. Like the Ryder Cup, a team requires 14 and a half points for victory.