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Seve opts out of opening greensomes

Seve Ballesteros will take to the buggy and not the course when the Seve Trophy 2002 tees-off at Druids Glen early on Friday morning.

The European captain has left himself out of the greensomes when his side defend the title they first won two years ago against Colin Montgomerie's Britain and Ireland.

Ballesteros will do a Valderrama on it and charge around from game to game in his buggy, just as he did as Ryder Cup captain back in 1997.

"I am not playing in the opening greensomes for tactical reasons," explained Ballesteros.

"It is a decision based on what is best for the team, I am not interested in individual performances. It's a team event and I am trying to do the best for the team.

"I feel I have the right team to play in the greensomes and I don¹t need to be a part of that team."

Robert Karlsson and Thomas Bjorn will kick-off Europe's defence of the trophy against Paul Lawrie and Montgomerie at 7.30 on Friday morning.

Spaniards Jose Maria Olazabal and Miguel Angel Jiminez will then face Ian Woosnam and Steve Webster, while Mathias Gronberg and Alex Cejka meet Irish duo Padraig Harrington and Paul McGinley.

French pair Raphael Jacquelin and Thomas Levet conclude the greensomes, more commonly known as scotch foursomes, when they tee-off against close friends Lee Westwood and Darren Clarke.

"Karlsson and Bjorn played together two years ago and did very well so I thought it was important to keep them together," added Europe¹s captain.

"Olazabal and Jiminez also did very well last time and Cejka played very good. I have spoken to Alex and Mathias and they feel comfortable playing together.

"I have told the two French guys to speak French when they are out there together. That may confuse the opposition."

Ballesteros won three Irish Opens at the height of his powers and has promised that the Druids Glen public will get to see him back to his best before the singles on Sunday.

"I may decide to play on Friday afternoon in the foursomes or I will play fourball or foursomes on Saturday," added the Spanish great.

"The rules say that everyone must play one game before Sunday's singles and it is possible that I may play with Jose Maria Olazabal.

"We played together at Sunningdale two years ago and it was good so we may try that again."

Ballesteros famously went without sleep when he captained the European team that won the 1997 Ryder Cup.

And the nerves are at him again. "I woke up at five o¹clock on Thursday morning but I will be fine," he insisted.

"This is a competition, not a war you know. We are taking it seriously and we want to win it but it will be played in the right spirit."


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