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Future of Seve Trophy in question

The long-term future of the Seve Trophy could be at risk after fewer than 5,000 spectators turned up for last week's biennial team competition at Killenard, Ireland.

There is little doubt the hosting Heritage club, the sponsors and Continental Europe captain Seve Ballesteros, whose Amen Corner firm promote the event, were dismayed at the lack of interest, especially since last year's Ryder Cup at nearby K Club attracted around 40,000 fans a day.

The competition, won 16 1/2-11 1/2 by Britain and Ireland, was not helped by the withdrawal of British Open champion Padraig Harrington and the lack of any Irish players.

While the two teams were playing in front of a handful of fans, a big agricultural show nearby attracted thousands of spectators.

Britain and Ireland stalwart Colin Montgomerie voiced his displeasure at the poor Seve Trophy attendance.

"We need to get the ploughing championship over and get all the farmers to come and support us," Montgomerie told reporters.

"I think (the lack of an Irishman in the team) has had a slight effect but then there would be 10,000 watching him play and still only 24 watching me."

Apart from Irish pair Harrington and Paul McGinley and Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke, the Seve Trophy also suffered without the likes of Sergio Garcia, Luke Donald, Jose Maria Olazabal, Lee Westwood, Henrik Stenson, Ian Poulter and Niclas Fasth.

"It's a great golf course, there's good quality golf, good facilities and just a pity it's an hour and a bit from Dublin," said Montgomerie.

"This event has all the potential provided everyone shows up. Eleven alternate (players) is clearly far too many. Two or three you can get away with."

Lengthy television coverage kept interest alive and probably balanced the books but the European Tour is expected to take a bigger role when the Seve Trophy returns to Ireland in two years after chief executive George O'Grady met officials on Sunday.

One man pleased with his week was Europe's 2008 Ryder Cup captain Nick Faldo.

"The whole experience has been really, really worth doing," said the victorious Britain and Ireland skipper.

"I've taken everything on board and made a few little notes (for next year). It's been great."



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