McGinley to lead Gbr & Ire

Paul McGinley and Jean Van de Velde have been confirmed as the opposing captains for the 2011 Vivendi Seve Trophy.

Paul McGinley and Jean Van de Velde have been confirmed as the respective Great Britain & Ireland and Continental Europe captains for next months Vivendi Seve Trophy in Paris.

And that’s official.

The European Tour made the announcement on Monday.

McGinley, a 44-year-old Dubliner, led the Gbr & Ire side to a 16½-11½ victory over Continental Europe in the last edition of the event in 2009 at the same St-Nom-la-Breteche course.

Darren Clarke had apparently been in line to take the role until his victory in the Open Championship made him a certainty to be selected for the team.

In 2009 Thomas Bjorn was the captain that opposed McGinley, but like Clarke, he has regained much of his old form this year and there is a strong possibility he will qualify for the team, thus the call-up of Van de Velde.

Both captains were selected by 2012 Ryder Cup skipper Jose Maria Olazabal, one of Ballesteros’ closest friends.

“It’s a great honour to be invited back as captain. I enjoyed it enormously last time,” McGinley said.

“I’m looking forward to going up against Jean and it’s good to have a Frenchman involved on French soil because that’s important for the future of the tournament.”

Qualifying for the Seve Trophy ends after next week’s Omega European Masters in Switzerland.

The biennial contest was instigated by the late Seve Ballesteros in 2000 as a team competition to be contested in non-Ryder Cup years, and the two 2011 captains were delighted to accept their invitations to fill the non-playing roles from Europe’s 2012 Ryder Cup Captain, José Maria Olazábal.

McGinley, 44, played an instrumental role as a vice captain to Colin Montgomerie in Europe’s thrilling Ryder Cup victory over the United States in The 2010 Ryder Cup. He has always been passionate about the team format and played in three consecutive winning Ryder Cup Teams in 2002, 2004 and 2006, holing the winning putt on his debut appearance.

He has also been on the victorious teams for Ireland in the World Cup and Europe in the Royal Trophy.

Van de Velde has two victories to his name during a 23-year career on The European Tour and came close to winning The Open Championship in 1999.

He played in The Ryder Cup that year and was part of the victorious Continental European team in the inaugural Seve Trophy the following season. The 45-year-old has also represented France in the World Cup on 12 occasions.

McGinley said: “It’s a great honour to be invited back as captain, and it’s something that I’m really looking forward to.

“I enjoyed it enormously last time, so I was delighted to be asked again. I’m looking forward to going up against Jean, and it’s good to have a Frenchman involved on French soil, because that’s important for the future of the tournament. With the excitement of France being awarded The Ryder Cup, I’m sure the event will be well supported.

“Obviously with Seve’s sad passing earlier this year, there will be added poignancy, particularly with José Maria being involved. Two years ago Seve was in our thoughts, both in the team room and outside. I’m sure he’ll be looking down on us, and hopefully we can put on an event worthy of him.”

Van de Velde said: “I was privileged to take part in the very first Seve Trophy at Sunningdale and to be part of the winning team captained by Seve.

“Captaining the Continental Europe side will be a completely new experience for me and I am honoured to be nominated for the role by José Maria at a venue I know so well in St- Nom- la Bretèche, where I played my first Trophée Lancôme in 1989.

The event comprises two opposing teams of ten players each who play fourballs, greensomes, foursomes and singles over its four days.

Qualification for the teams began at the Alfred Dunhill Championship in December 2010 and finishes after the Omega European Masters on September 4.

The top five players on the Official World Golf Ranking list and the top five on The Race to Dubai standings will qualify.

The Vivendi Seve Trophy has been played six times, with Continental Europe winning the first edition at Sunningdale in England while Great Britain & Ireland have won the last five matches.