ST ANDREWS, United Kingdom – Double Ryder Cup star Paul Lawrie has criticised eight of his Medinah winning teammates who have turned their backs on contesting next week's Seve Trophy in Versailles.
Six of the eight - Justin Rose, Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell, Luke Donald, Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter - were the top Great Britain and Ireland qualifiers.
Also electing not to tee up on the Saint Nom-la-Bretche course are two of the top six European Team qualifiers in Spain's Sergio Garcia and Sweden's Peter Hanson.
As well, Sweden's Henrik Stenson, who topped the list of European Team qualifiers in capturing the PGA Tour season-ending Tour Championship and FedEx Cup, also has declined to play.
“The Seve Trophy I don't quite understand it to be fair and I think it's extremely disappointing that a lot of the guys are not playing,” said Lawrie.
“I'm not slagging them off, or I'm not having a go at them, but I just think certainly with Seve's name attached to it and the idea behind the tournament, it's kind of the equivalent of the Presidents Cup for the American boys.
“So for many of our boys not to want to play for an event that not only carries Seve's name, but you get handsomely paid to play in it, as well, I don't understand it.
“It's disappointing for everyone involved in it; for the Tour, who have done a great job putting it on; and for Seve and his family.
“It's Seve's name. I mean, my God, most of us are out there playing because of what Seve did years ago.
“But then these guys are not playing, which I'm delighted about.
“I would walk to Paris to play on the team next week, and I would have done whatever it would have taken to play on that team next week.
“You're representing GB & I; you're representing Seve and what he stood for, for use, for Europe. So I personally would never turn down playing.”
Lawrie was speaking on the eve of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship being played over three courses and looking for a first victory this season after also having captured the inaugural tournament in 2001.
Joining Lawrie is South African Branden Grace who shot a round of 60 at Kingsbarns on route to a fourth victory last season
But like Lawrie, the Pretoria-born Grace and current World No. 36 also has not tasted success this year.
“Winning here last year was like the cherry on top of the cake,” he said.
“But as for this year I've had some success, obviously not a win, but I've been close.”
Grace will next week be making his Presidents Cup debut at Muirfield Village in Ohio.
Also in this week's field is the former World No.1 trio of Vijay Singh, David Duval and former Dunhill Links winner, Martin Kaymer. – Sapa-AFP