Westwood to spearhead GB’s Seve tilt

WORLD No2 Lee Westwood will be the biggest threat in a depleted Great Britain and Ireland side bidding to retain the Seve Trophy in Paris next week.

The holders have been hit hard by a spate of withdrawals, which will deprive them of four of the world’s top 20 in Luke Donald, Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell and Paul Casey, as well as Justin Rose and Martin Laird.

However, captain Paul McGinley can still call on Ian Poulter, Open champion Darren Clarke and 2009 veterans Simon Dyson, Robert Rock and Ross Fisher for the biennial contest.

Continental Europe, led by Dutchman Jean van de Velde, boast the most in-form man on the European Tour, Denmark’s Thomas Bjorn, and Italian wonderkid Matteo Manassero, who becomes the competition’s youngest ever player at 18 years, 152 days.

Also looking to end Great Britain and Ireland’s run of five successive victories will be Spain’s Alvaro Quiros, Italian Ryder Cup star Francesco Molinari and Bjorn’s countryman Anders Hansen.

The Seve Trophy takes place at St-Nom-La-Breteche from 15 September.