SEVE SETS SIGHTS ON ROYAL TROPHY REPEAT


The Continental pride and passion will be at stake when Seve Ballesteros returns to Thailand to spearhead Europe’s bid to retain the Royal Trophy from January 12-14, 2007.

The Spanish great, a driving force behind the creation of the Royal Trophy, has confirmed that he will once more act as non-playing captain of the European Team in the match play extravaganza against a team comprised of Asia’s leading golfers.

Bangkok’s acclaimed Amata Spring Country Club will continue to be the host venue of the three-day showpiece billed as the ‘Battle of the Continents’.

“I am very honoured to captain the European Team for the second edition of the Royal Trophy. Representing the European people is a great responsibility and I accept it with great pride,” said Ballesteros, who skippered Europe to a 9-7 victory in the inaugural edition of the Royal Trophy in January 2006 which attracted final-day galleries of more than 11,000.

“It’s great for me to see Europe and Asia, two continents of tremendous cultural diversity and history, coming together for the Tournament.”

“We made history with the inaugural Royal Trophy. It was a very special Tournament and I am confident that the Royal Trophy will grow into one of the world’s great sporting competitions,” predicted five-time Major champion Ballesteros, a stalwart of Europe’s Ryder Cup set-up for the best part of two decades.

Like the Ryder Cup (a match play event between Europe and the United States), the Royal Trophy uses three different formats – foursomes (alternate shot) on the opening day, followed by four-ball on day two and singles on the last day.

“There was an electrifying atmosphere throughout this year’s Royal Trophy and I’m certain we’ll see even greater enthusiasm in 2007,” added Ballesteros, whose triumphant Team included British greats Nick Faldo and Ian Woosnam as well as David Howell, Henrik Stenson, Thomas Bjorn and Paul McGinley.

Organisers confirmed that the Asian Captain will be named at a later date. Masahiro Kuramoto, one of Japan’s most decorated golfers, undertook the task for the first Royal Trophy, leading a talented and truly “Asia representative” Team made up of two Thais, two Indians, two Japanese, a Chinese and a Korean.

Following the first Royal Trophy, Kuramoto was bullish about the way in which Asia will embrace the Event going forward. He said: “Our Asian region is very large and has a population of over three billion people. We will always have players from many great Asian nations and I think that all of these countries coming together to represent Asia is very, very special.”

His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej graciously donated the Royal Trophy as the principle award for the competition in the very year in which the people of Thailand celebrated His Majesty’s 60th Anniversary of Accession to the Throne. The second edition of the Royal Trophy will be the first major event held in Thailand commemorating His Majesty the King’s 80th birthday.

“We are very thankful to His Majesty the King for graciously donating the splendid perpetual Royal Trophy for the competition which will, with no doubt, become a great symbol in the world of golf and sport,” added the legendary Ballesteros.

Meanwhile, Heineken have confirmed the extention of their Premier Sponsorship of the Royal Trophy.

“We are delighted to extend and continue our sponsorship of the Royal Trophy. Heineken and the Royal Trophy have a lot in common – whether it be our love of the great game of golf, a passion that we also share with our consumers, or our desire to be the best at what we do,” said Mr. Panya Pongtanya, General Manager of Thai Asia Pacific Brewery.

He added: “It is particularly meaningful that this prestigious Event is being staged in Thailand – the Asian country in which Heineken, Europe’s favourite premium beer, also has the largest following of loyal consumers.”

Also extending their sponsorship and joining the stable of blue-chip sponsors of the second edition of the Royal Trophy are Siam Commercial Bank. “We are very pleased to support such a prestigious golfing event which brings together the two great continents of Asia and Europe in the year in which our Bank celebrates its 100th Anniversary,” said Mr. Sirichai Sombutsiri, Senior Executive Vice President of Siam Commercial Bank.

This year’s inaugural Royal Trophy greatly surpassed expectations, both in terms of the excitement and the quality of play on the course and the astounding public support.

Blessed with wonderful weather, the two star-studded Teams served up a feast of golf. Europe took the early initiative and held a seemingly commanding lead going into the final-day singles. But the Asian Team fought back courageously, only to be narrowly edged out with Swede Stenson having the distinction of snaring the winning point.

“We were delighted to receive such rave reviews for the first Royal Trophy. The appetite of the players and fans, in Asia and Europe, has been whetted and we’re all looking forward to an even more memorable week of golf at the Amata Spring course next January,” said Lincoln Venancio, Managing Director of tournament owner Entertainment Group.

The Royal Trophy has had a great start and the course is set for the Tournament to grow into one of the world’s truly great competitions;” concluded Lincoln Venancio.

The Royal Trophy will be held on January 12-14, 2007 at Thailand’s world-class private club, Amata Spring Country Club. Sponsors of the Tournament include Heineken, Tourism Authority of Thailand and Siam Commercial Bank. For further Tournament information, please call +662 651 9499 or visit the official website www.TheRoyalTrophy.com. The Royal Trophy is owned and promoted globally by Entertainment Group Limited and is organized in Thailand by Entertainment and Sports Co., Ltd.

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