No fewer than six Major Champions will take part in Olé Seve! – aid of the Seve Ballesteros Foundation over the West Course, with all proceeds being donated to the SBF in partnership with Cancer Research UK, with the ambition of raising substantial monies for research into the illness which sadly cost the five-time Major Champion his life on May 7.
The Invitational event has been in planning for many months and was aimed, and still is, to both honour and celebrate Seve’s career taking the form of a shotgun Pro-Am at 13.00 with a minimum of 22 teams participating and professionals including Major winners Michael Campbell, Retief Goosen, Martin Kaymer, Paul Lawrie, Graeme McDowell and Ballesteros’s Ryder Cup team-mate, and soul-mate, José Maria Olazábal.
Olazábal will take on the role of tournament host at a Press Conference in honour of his close friend at Wentworth Club before the Pro-Am, which will be followed by an evening reception, prize giving, and auction with all funds being donated to the SBF.
The event, which will precede a packed week of thrilling golfing and social activity during the BMW PGA Championship from May 26 to 29, will be open to the public and admission will take the form of a minimum £5 donation to the Seve Ballesteros Foundation. Car parking is free of charge and catering facilities will be open on the course and in the tented village.
In addition to those Major Champions, the field will comprise defending BMW PGA Champion Simon Khan and past winners Paul Casey, Anders Hansen, David Howell and Miguel Angel Jiménez, along with 2010 European Ryder Cup Team Captain, Colin Montgomerie, victorious Team member Peter Hanson and the 2010 Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year and two-time Tour winner, Matteo Manassero.
Ballesteros won the PGA Championship twice, in 1983 and 1991, along with five World Match Play titles over the iconic West Course – his total haul of seven victories making the West Course his most productive return from any venue.
Furthermore, the second round of the BMW PGA Championship on Friday, May 27 – coincides with the 20th anniversary of Ballesteros’s second PGA Championship victory, when he beat Montgomerie at the first hole of a sudden-death play-off.
To mark that achievement, everyone attending Wentworth Club that day is being encouraged to wear navy blue in honour of the trademark outfit which Ballesteros wore to victory in the 1991 in the PGA Championship and, of course, when winning The Open at St Andrews so gloriously in 1984 and which went on to become a symbol – alongside the familiar clenched fist salute – of the Seve Trophy in recent years.
George O’Grady CBE, Chief Executive of The European Tour, said: “Seve was the inspiration behind The European Tour. He cut a dashing and imposing figure and fought illness with the same flair, passion, courage and willpower that he displayed on golf courses the world over.
“Olé Seve! is a fitting platform from which to raise considerable funds for the Seve Ballesteros Foundation in partnership with Cancer Research UK, aimed to helping combat this devastating disease. We welcome everyone to Wentworth Club on May 23 to pay their own, personal tribute to one of golf’s greatest Champions.”
Richard Caring, Chairman of Wentworth Club, added: “We are delighted to co-host this event with The European Tour. Seve won more times over the West Course than anywhere else in the world and we all remember how he entertained us during those seven victories with flair and a swashbuckling style. We hope the day will be a fitting tribute to Seve while raising a significant sum to help battle brain cancer.”
The Seve Ballesteros Foundation is also the Official Charity of the BMW PGA Championship., Everyone attending Wentworth Club later in the week will have the opportunity to support the Foundation in other ways.
Seve Ballesteros Foundation www.seveballesterosfoundation.org
Cancer Research UK www.cancerresearchuk.org