Friendships are put aside when Ryder Cup victors Europe split into two teams to contest the Seve Trophy in Paris.
Bi-annually teams from Great Britain and Ireland and Continental Europe contest the Seve Trophy—created by Seve Ballesteros, a golfer many consider the greatest to hail from Europe.
Those hoping to see the stars of European golf will largely be left disappointed with a spate of no-shows—including Rory McIlroy, Lee Westwood and Sergio Garcia—leaving the feel of a reserve competition. Hardly a fitting way to remember a legend.
Let’s take a look at the pairings and tee times for Thursday’s fourballs.
Day One Tee Times and Pairings
|Tee Time (BST)||Great Britain and Northern Ireland||Continental Europe|
|11:35||Paul Lawrie and Stephen Gallacher||Thomas Bjorn and Miguel Angel Jimenez|
|11:50||Tommy Fleetwood and Chris Wood||Thorbjorn Olesen and Mikko Ilonen|
|12:05||Paul Casey and Simon Khan||Francesco Molinari and Matteo Manassero|
|12:20||Jamie Donaldson and David Lynn||Joost Luiten and Gregory Bourdy|
|12:35||Marc Warren and Scott Jamieson||Nicolas Colsaerts and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano|
There is expectation on the players not to let the event turn into a drab spectacle. Both captains have sent out experienced pairings to start proceedings with Scottish pair Lawrie and Gallacher faced with arguably Continental Europe's toughest duo, Thomas Bjorn and Miguel Angel Jimenez.
In 2011, Great Britain and Ireland surged away on the opening day by taking four of the five fourballs. It effectively ended the contest, which is why it's hardly surprising that European captain Jose Maria Olazabal is taking a different approach this time around to try to get ahead early to build momentum.
Ballesteros carried European golf onto the global scene, but his tournament is in danger of becoming a forgotten event with so many major players choosing to miss the Seve Trophy.
Who will win the Seve Trophy?
With the Ryder Cup obviously the pinnacle of team golf, it's hard to see things changing when the modern player will jump at the opportunity to have a break due to their packed schedule. After the Miracle of Medinah, where Europe somehow recovered from 10-6 down to win, it's hard to see a fierce rivalry forming within with the focus instead set on beating the Americans every two years.
It now rests on the old-guard in the opening fourball to inject life into this year's tournament to continue an event created by arguably the greatest character to grace the game.