independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

Peter Hanson the latest withdrawal from Seve Trophy

David Howell is looking to build on his success at St Andrews

Spaniard Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano will replace the injured Peter Hanson in the Continental Europe team for this week's Seve Trophy near Paris, the European Tour announced.

Swede Hanson has withdrawn from the biennial contest against Britain and Ireland at Saint-Nom-La-Breteche due to a back injury that has affected him for most of the season.

Hanson (35) said: "I am really disappointed not to be able to play. Everyone knows how much I love match-play events.

"My back has been an issue for pretty much most of the year and it is still not 100pc. I have my defence of the BMW Masters in China coming up which is part of the Final Series of the European Tour and I want to be in ideal shape for that full run of tournaments."

Hanson's mind coach Torsten Hansson said the player was still practising but did not think that his back would stand up to the rigours of the Seve Trophy.

He added that Hanson was about to spend two weeks in Florida, where he is based, receiving treatment on a compressed disc.

Fernandez-Castano, who will be making his third appearance in the contest, said: "I really enjoyed the two previous contests I played and it is important to support a tournament with Seve's name on it, not only because of what he did for Spanish golf, but for what he did for the game in Europe and the European Tour as a whole.

"I wanted to show my respect for him. It was a privilege to play under Seve in 2007 and under Thomas Bjorn in 2009, and it is a dream come true for me now to play in the Seve Trophy with Jose Maria (Olazabal) as captain."

Fernandez-Castano is joined by fellow Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez, Danish duo Thomas Bjorn and Thorbjorn Olesen, Frenchman Gregory Bourdy, Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts, Finland's Mikko Ilonen, Dutchman Joost Luiten, and the Italian pair of Matteo Manassero and Francesco Molinari.

They will take on a Britain and Ireland team captained by Sam Torrance and featuring five Englishmen (Paul Casey, Tommy Fleetwood, Simon Khan, David Lynn and Chris Wood), four Scotsmen (Stephen Gallacher, Scott Jamieson, Paul Lawrie and Marc Warren) and Welshman Jamie Donaldson.

The event format is similar to the Ryder Cup, with foursomes and fourballs followed by the singles matches on the final day. A team requires 14.5 points for victory.

Continental Europe won the first contest 13 years ago, while Britain and Ireland have won the last six in succession, claiming a 15.5-12.5 success two years ago.

Meanwhile David Howell hopes his first European Tour victory in seven years can inspire him to the best years of his career, including a third Ryder Cup appearance in 2014.

Howell beat American Peter Uihlein on the second hole of a sudden-death play-off in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at St Andrews on Sunday after the pair had finished tied on 23-under-par.

"Why can't the next 10 years be the best of my career? I'd love to play in another Ryder Cup and you can't get into teams without winning tournaments and playing in the big events. That's what makes a victory like this so important," said the Englishman.

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