The year 2006 may go down in sport history as a year as important as 1927 – when the highly successful American businessman Sammuel Ryder and other golf enthusiasts launched the Ryder Cup.

The inaugural Royal Trophy proved to be a tremendous success and was highlighted by the legendary European Team Captain Seve Ballesteros lifting the solid-silver sixteen-kilogram Trophy graciously donated by the world’s longest-reigning Monarch and highly revered, His Majesty the King of Thailand; the attendance of massive crowds, a relentless and emotional final Sunday charge by the Asian Team and an incredible atmosphere comparable to the world’s great golf tournaments.

“We have made history with the inaugural Royal Trophy. This is a very special tournament which will grow into one of the world’s great sporting competitions,” stated the legendary Ballesteros just prior to his departure back to Spain.

“We had a great week. The players truly enjoyed the atmosphere and the Asians put up a great fight. At one point I told my players that things were not looking good in the golf course for us – we were down in seven out of the eight singles matches. But our European players came through and although the Asian Team won the singles 5–3, we were able to protect our lead from Saturday and win the Royal Trophy 9-7,” added the five-time Major winner.

“I sincerely congratulate Massy and the Asian Team on their performance. They really made an amazing charge today.”

Asian Team Captain Massy Kuramoto had a magnificent day during which he showed the world that Asia is ready for top-level golf competition and that it is a Continent to be respected with an incredible domination early on the final day.

“Our Asian Team made a great come back. I am very proud of them. The day before I had told them that being 6-2 down after the first day of play, we had to go out and do whatever was necessary to win our matches. I told them, go out and bring back a point for Asia. We saw remarkable courage from our players. Yasuharu (Imano) asked me to play him first because he was determined to go out and deliver a point for our team no matter who he played or whatever happened. And he did it. He defeated one of the world’s hottest players right now – David Howell. It was the pride of playing for Asia and the pride of playing for our people.”

The final day saw attendance of 11,358 fans at the Amata Spring Country Club – possibly a record for Asian golf. “This is like being at what you see on television at the big tournaments. Now I know what it feels like. I am very happy I came;” said a local fan accompanied by his young son as he walked through one of the large galleries of spectators.

It was a day where heros were made – Imano’s defeat of Howell in the first match, Atwal prevailing against Faldo, Wiratchant holding-off former Masters winner Woosnam, Korean S. K. Ho’s close win against Kenneth Ferrie, Fukabori’s remarkable success against the Dane Thomas Bjorn and the Asian Captain Kuramoto showing a “come-from-behind” courage of a true sporting warrior and leading his team through a historic early afternoon.

But the biggest winner was the sport of golf. “The Royal Trophy was great for the players, the fans that came to the Event, the television viewers, for Thailand – really for everyone involved with the Event. But the biggest winner was golf and the people of Asia and Europe who now have this new great competition to look forward to,” said the charismatic Ballesteros. “The young people of Asia can now dream; – one day I want to wear that red shirt.”

The Royal Trophy was also a great success for the host country – Thailand. “This is the greatest international event ever held in Thailand. It will set the standard for Asian golf. I am proud to be Thai,” commented a Thai teaching golf pro.

“The first edition of the Royal Trophy was an immense success. Clearly, the competition has a very bright future;” said Lincoln Venancio; the Royal Trophy Managing Director.

The memorable week was probably best summarized by the living legend Ballesteros. “Life is made up of short great moments of happiness and significance. These are the ones you remember, they stay with you. The Royal Trophy provided many of these.”

The Royal Trophy was held at Thailand’s new world-class private club, Amata Spring Country Club. Sponsors of the tournament included Heineken, BMW Thailand, Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), Siam Commercial Bank, PTT and i-mobile. The Royal Trophy is promoted internationally by Entertainment Group Limited, sanctioned by the Asian, Japan and European Tours and organized in Thailand by Entertainment and Sports Co., Ltd.

The Royal Trophy - Europe vs Asia Golf Championship
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the Royal Trophy name, the Royal Trophy logo and the Competition format are the sole property of Entertainment Group (Asia) Limited.
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