Building on the success of staging the most atmospheric Ryder Cup match ever played, Ireland has picked up another major golf event that will hone the team match play skills of Europe’s top golfers even more over the next three years.
The 5-star Heritage Golf & Spa Resort, in Killenard, Co. Laois – just 20 minutes from The K Club in Co. Kildare – has been chosen as the host venue for the Seve Trophy match play golf competition in both 2007 and 2009.
Europe’s captain for the 2008 Ryder Cup match, Nick Faldo, will act as non-playing captain of the Great Britain & Ireland team for the first time next year, coming up against Continental Europe captain Severiano Ballesteros in a mighty clash of legendary Ryder Cup record holders.
“After watching last weekend’s event in Ireland, I can’t wait to return next year as captain of the Great Britain & Ireland team to take on Seve and his team, especially as many players on both sides will feature in the 2008 Ryder Cup team,” said Nick.
Event organiser Amen Corner have signed a contract with The Heritage Golf & Spa Resort confirming that the thrilling team event will be held next September at the 7,319 yard, par 72 parkland course that Seve himself helped to design.
The event, created by Severiano Ballesteros and named after him, pits the cream of Europe’s golfers in a team competition format similar to the one seen at the unforgettable 36th Ryder Cup contest.
In The Seve Trophy, teams of 10 players representing Continental Europe and Great Britain & Ireland compete over four days in a series of fourballs, greensomes, foursomes and singles matches on dates that mirror the Presidents Cup contest between the United States and a top international team.
The Seve Trophy was last staged in Ireland at Druids Glen in 2002 and other events have been held at Sunningdale, England in 2000, El Saler in Valencia, Spain in 2003 and The Wynyard in north east England in 2005.
The Heritage course was co-designed by Seve and Jeff Howes. It features no fewer than 98 bunkers and its five lakes and a stream bring water into play on 10 holes. It was selected by Golf World in June 2005 as one of the best new courses in Great Britain & Ireland and staged the AIB Irish Seniors Open last year. The resort also boasts a 125-bedroom hotel and luxury health spa, plus the Seve Natural Golf School, with its own dedicated practice course.
The course has been praised by former Ryder Cup stars like Christy O’Connor Junior and Sam Torrance. “For condition, I’d give it 12 out of 10,” said Christy, while Sam said: “As the years go by, this course will be capable of hosting any kind of tournament, the Ryder Cup, anything.”
Commenting on the agreement, Tom Keane of The Heritage Golf & Spa Resort said, “Securing The Seve Trophy event for The Heritage Golf & Spa Resort is another huge boost for Ireland, as well as the resort itself.
“The Seve Trophy has become one of the biggest competitions in European golf and attracts the top players, plus the great man himself. We believe that the Irish appetite for watching golf and the worldwide media interest in the event will give The Heritage a massive profile to rival any golf course in Ireland,” added Tom.
Severiano Ballesteros said, “This announcement marks a very special day for me because The Heritage is a true championship course with which I am very proud to be associated. I’m sure that the Seve Trophy contests will be the first of many top international golf events to be staged at this wonderful facility.
“Each of the Seve Trophy contests has been an exciting event where the players have shown just how much they want to win for their team. I believe that the next two events will be just as thrilling and attract great Irish crowds.”
The Seve Trophy 2005 www.sevetrophy2005.com