GOLF legend Seve Ballesteros this week gave his stamp of approval to the North-East as the host of next year's Seve Trophy.

The five-times Major winner has confirmed The Wynyard Golf Club in Tees Valley as the venue for the 2005 event, which pits the best of Great Britain and Ireland's golfers against Continental Europe from September 22 to 25.

Hardwick Hall Hotel, near Sedgefield, will be the official accommodation for the players during the tournament and hosted Monday's media launch.

The four-day event - widely acknowledged as the breeding ground for Europe's Ryder Cup stars of tomorrow - will boast the most star-studded line-up of golfing talent the North-East has ever seen, including many of this year's European Ryder Cup stars.

Seve will captain the Continental European side, while Ryder Cup hero Colin Montgomerie will lead the Great Britain and Ireland team in defending the trophy they won in Valencia last year.

The former British Open and US Masters champion met with dignitaries at Hardwick Hall before seizing the chance to play Wynyard's Wellington Course to gauge its qualities for himself.

He said: "I'm looking forward to returning to England for the next Seve Trophy and giving golf fans in the North-East the chance to see Europe's best golfers compete over four days on The Wynyard course."

The club's managing director Gary Munro said: "Having Seve here is proof positive that the Tees Valley and The Wynyard Club has what it takes to stage this fantastic event.

"The response we have had from our membership and the public in general to the news that the Seve Trophy is being played here has been phenomenal."

The club is investing £750,000 to extend its clubhouse facilities to cater for the event and to carry out some improvements to the course.

One NorthEast led the region's bid to stage the trophy. Alan Clarke, chief executive, said: "Securing the Seve Trophy for the North-East is a major coup and yet more evidence of the region's ability to stage world-class sporting events.

"Economists have forecast this event will create 100 new jobs in the Tees Valley and will generate £10m for the regional economy, as well as boosting the international profile of our region to millions of television viewers."