THE ROYAL TROPHY
The Royal Trophy originated in concert with the vision of the late legendary five-time Major winner Seve Ballesteros, his nephew and former manager Ivan Ballesteros and sports entrepreneur Lincoln Venancio; who dreamt to gift the Asian Continent with the same golf growth impetus the European Continent experienced in the 1980s and 1990s as a result of the Ryder Cup.
Europe prevailed in the first two editions of the Championship while Asia secured a most historic victory over the European masters of team match play in 2009.
In the making of a most amazing sporting drama; the fourth edition of the Royal Trophy came down to the final putt on the 18th hole in the final match of the Championship, which featured Sweden’s Henrik Stenson and Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee in an epic battle.
The fifth edition of the Royal Trophy was held at the magnificent Black Mountain Golf Club in the beautiful coastal city of Hua Hin in the Kingdom of Thailand.
In the first day of the Matches Asia and Europe were comprehensively even registering a tie of 2-2. In the second day the Asian Team produced flawless golf to secure the first ‘clean sweep’ in the history of the Competition. But the final day of the Royal Trophy was to deliver an incredible and historic recovery by Captain Colin Montgomerie and his Team Members with their remaining undefeated in all eight Singles Matches, securing six wins and halving two matches – which resulted in the European Continent retaining stewardship of the Royal Trophy with a narrow victory of 9-7.
An exhilarated Montgomerie stated at the conclusion of the Matches: “This was such a dramatic Event, and it must have captivated spectators and viewers all over the world. It was an enthralling spectacle and a fantastic Match, played in an exemplary spirit. Even though the result went against the Asian Team, the Match can only help the growth of golf in this area, just as Seve Ballesteros predicted it.”
The sixth edition of the Royal Trophy was held as a tribute to the late master of team golf Seve Ballesteros.
The Competition was held at the magnificent Empire Hotel & Country Club, set amidst the Sultanate of Brunei’s monumental rainforest and pristine South China Sea waters.
The Championship was a tremendous success with Europe dominating the first day of Foursomes Matches 3½-½, Asia recovering in the Four-ball Matches to bring the score to 4½-3½ and then a monumental final day of Singles evolving with the two continents reaching a tie at 8-8; and a play-off being required for the very first time in the history of the Competition.
Team Captain José María Olazábal selected Ryder Cup stars Francesco Molinari and Nicolas Colsaerts to represent Europe in the Four-ball 18th hole play-off while Asian Team Captain Naomichi ‘Joe’ Ozaki nominated Koreans Y.E. Yang and K.T. Kim – with the latter holing a 15-foot birdie putt to secure an emotionally-charged victory for Asia.
As the Asian Team broke out in a fantastic celebration, the European players led by Captain Olazábal demonstrated the utmost sportsmanship earnestly congratulating the Asian stars on the 18th green. It was continental team golf of the highest quality produced by two fantastic and highly determined teams.
The seventh edition of the Royal Trophy was held at the picturesque Dragon Lake Golf Club located in Guangdong Province, the People’s Republic of China’s most populous – home to one hundred million people and which features the nation’s highest GDP.
The Y.E. Yang-led Asian Team produced compelling golf in the Foursomes and Four-ball Matches to dominate the first two days of competition. At one point in the final day of Singles, following sound victories from Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee and Kiradech Aphibarnrat, the Asians led by 7-3 with only six matches to be played. Completion of an Asian victory seemed a formality.
However, Englishman David Howell came back from three down and four to play against Korea’s H.S. Kim, winning all four remaining holes, to win the match and produce a shattering momentum shift.
Legendary Captain José María Olazábal ignited a fighting spirit in his golfing battalion that would produce victories in another four of the remaining matches; and Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts would defeat China’s Liang Wen-chong in the final match of the tournament to secure the miraculous European victory.
It was a day of great intensity and emotion at Dragon Lake Golf Club, and a glorious day for the Europeans.