Luke Donald, Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell miss Seve Trophy

Paul McGinley
McGinley is captain of Great Britain and Ireland for a second time

Britain and Ireland will be without four of the world's top 20 players when they defend the Vivendi Seve Trophy against Continental Europe in Paris.

World number one Luke Donald is at the FedEx Cup play-offs, while Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell and Paul Casey have turned down the match.

However, Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter and Darren Clarke will be playing.

GB & Ireland captain Paul McGinley said: "I think we have an extremely strong side with a good blend."

European Ryder Cup captain Jose Maria Olazabal defended the absence of the leading players and said: "I'm sad that all our top players are not going to be playing in the Seve Trophy after his death this year.

"But I also know that with the top players in the world they do have their commitments like the FedEx Cup in America, getting world ranking points and in Luke Donald's case trying to finish top of both the European and US money lists.

"So they cannot appear at every event, and I am sorry they won't be there but because I understand their situation I certainly will not hold it against them at the Ryder Cup in a year's time."

Scotland's Scott Jamieson, England's David Horsey and Jamie Donaldson, from Wales, will make their debuts at the event, which starts on 15 September.

There is also a first cap for Westwood's Worksop colleague Mark Foster.

McGinley, who won the event as a player in 2006 and 2007, added: "It is a huge boost for our team that players of the calibre of Lee, Darren and Ian have opted to play.

"These are players with big worldwide reputations and impressive Ryder Cup pedigrees.

"It is certain that many of the members of our team will go on to represent Europe in the Ryder Cup, so this experience of team golf cannot be underestimated."

He also defended the decisions of McDowell and McIlroy not to compete and said: "I'm not going to comment, so don't drag me into that, and besides I'm not going to criticise any players not playing next week. All I can say is that I would have loved them both to play."

Continental Europe will also be without some big names including world number three Martin Kaymer, Robert Karlsson and Sergio Garcia.

Their debutants will be Italian teenager Matteo Manassero, Swede Alex Noren, Spaniard Pablo Larrazabal and Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts, who has recovered from the elbow injury he suffered in a scooter crash just before the Open Championship in July.

Skipper Jean Van de Velde said: "With eight rookies in the two teams it means that 40% of the sides are newcomers and this will be great preparation for the day they step up to play in the Ryder Cup.

"We are 5-1 down in the series and I hope we can reverse the trend."

The teams play fourballs, greensomes, foursomes and singles over the four days.

Great Britain and Ireland: Lee Westwood (Eng), Ian Poulter (Eng), Darren Clarke (NI), Simon Dyson (Eng), Ross Fisher (Eng), Mark Foster (Eng), Robert Rock (Eng), Jamie Donaldson (Wal), David Horsey (Eng), Scott Jamieson (Sco). Captain: Paul McGinley (Ire)

Continental Europe: Francesco Molinari (Ita), Anders Hansen (Den), Thomas Bjorn (Den), Matteo Manassero (Ita), Alvaro Quiros (Spa), Alex Noren (Swe), Pablo Larrazabal (Spa), Miguel Angel Jimenez (Spa), Nicolas Colsaerts (Bel), Peter Hanson (Swe). Captain: Jean Van de Velde (Fra)