So it turns out that the Vivendi Seve Trophy is not such a disaster after all. A couple of weeks ago the word was that no-one who was anyone – or even used to be someone – wanted to trudge to Paris to play in the GB&I versus Continental Europe match.
Sponsors were edgy, the European Tour hierarchy were edgy. Even I felt a bit squiffy about the Vivendi Seve Trophy .
Now, however, we know that marquee names like Lee Westwood, Darren Clarke and Ian Poulter will be on Paul McGinley’s side while Thomas Bjorn-Again, Matteo Manassero and Miguel Angel Jimenez will be pretending to listen to their captain’s advice when Jean Van de Velde speaks earnestly about how to take on water hazards.
However this turnaround in fortune has come about, it is to be applauded. Obviously there is added piquancy this year to a competition that was conceived and encourged by Seve himself and, anyway, it offers a reasonably attractive alternative to the often humdrum stuff on offer during the usual diet of relentless 72-hole strokeplay.
See also: Vivendi Seve Trophy news
What the players also have the chance to do is to play this form of the game quickly, or at least quicker than is now too often the abysmal standard on both sides of the Atlantic.
Slow play is, if anything, getting worse. I don’t think it’s my imagination but the majority of young players coming on to the two main tours seem incapable of doing anything without rehearsing it so many times I often find myself willing them to duff the damn thing.
Seve himself was never slow although, to be fair, it did sometimes take a while to actually locate some of his more erratic drives. Fact is that he hated slow play and once hatched a plot with his pal Jose-Maria Olazabal to sit down during a tournament and have a picnic brought out to them in the middle of the fairway. Ollie nearly did it too
At least if someone decides to do the same during this Seve Trophy match in Paris the food should be worth waiting for.
Bill Elliott: Read more from our editor at large
The Vivendi Seve Trophy takes place in Paris from September 15-18.