ASIA’S GREATEST BATTLE SET FOR TEE-OFF


The Asian and European Teams at the Royal Trophy took a further a step towards tee-off with the announcement of the draw for the foursomes matches (alternate shots) to be played on Saturday morning.

The highlight of the draw was the announcement of the fourth match of the morning which will feature two great legends of the game against Thailand ‘s golden pair of Thongchai Jaidee and Thaworn Wiratchant teeing-up one of the great moments for Asian golf. The Thai stars will face-off six-time Major winner Nick Faldo of England and former Masters champion Ian Woosnam in a Europe versus Asia dream match.

“I spoke with both Nick and Ian and they are very comfortable playing together which is very important in team golf. If the players are comfortable and enjoying themselves, they tend to produce some of their best golf. Nick and Ian have tremendous experience and in the foursomes this will be a critical factor. In foursomes consistency is very important while in four-ball a player can be rewarded for being more aggressive,” said European Team Captain Seve Ballesteros.

“I knew Seve would play Faldo and Woosnam last. I expected this to happen and this is why I went with our very strong Thai pair of Jaidee and Wiratchant against them. My guess of Seve’s pairing was right,” said the Asian golf great Kuramoto.

Wiratchant ended 2005 as the Asian Tour #1 while Thongchai finished second. The two players had excellent years and are clearly playing some of the best golf of their careers.

On the first match the five-time Major winner Ballesteros placed European Tour present-leader David Howell and highly promising golfer Kenneth Ferrie who is a 2005 European Tour title winner, both from England . Kuramoto selected eight-time Japan Tour winner Keiichiro Fukabori and Korean S.K. Ho.

“Fukabori and S.K. Ho is a very good pair as S.K. is very consistent while Fukabori tends to be more aggressive. They will compliment each other. It is very helpful as well that S.K. speaks fluent Japanese,” said Kuramoto.

“I selected Howell and Ferrie to start the day for a number of reasons, one being that I needed to keep the afternoon matches in mind. I wanted to keep my options for the afternoon open. There is not much time between the morning and afternoon matches and this was a key consideration in my selection,” commented Ballesteros.

The third match will see a tremendous clash of India ‘s Arjun Atwal and Jyoti Randhawa playing against Ireland ‘s Paul McGinley and Northern Ireland ‘s Graeme McDowell, highlighting Ballesteros’ clear strategy of mixing experience with youth in three of the four matches. McGinley is know as the man who made the final putt to secure the 2002 Ryder Cup for Europe and has great match play and team golf experience while McDowell is one of Europe ‘s best stars for the future.

The third match will feature Japan ‘s Yasuharu Imano and Chinese star Zhang Lian Wei clashing with European Ryder Cup star Thomas Bjorn and Sweden ‘s Henrik Stenson.

“I have great memories from the Ryder Cup and team golf. I believe that the Royal Trophy has the potential to become one of the world’s greatest sporting competitions and will provide a tremendous boost for the growth of golf in Asia . My players are ready and we all have a sense of making history in this inaugural Royal Trophy,” said Ballesteros.

“Naturally we want to win all four matches in the morning but this is golf and we must let the golf clubs and ball do the talking;” added the Spanish superstar.

“I was hoping to take three points in the morning but a tie would be good. If we can conclude the morning at two-all, it is a good result and we can then attack the afternoon. I am very happy with the match-ups of the draw and like Seve, I also kept the afternoon matches in mind in making my selection,” said Kuramoto.

“This inaugural Royal Trophy is very important for Asia . We want to win it very badly for the Asian people;” added the Asian Team Captain.

Following the morning foursomes matches the four-ball matches will take place starting from 11:45am and going well into the late afternoon. All eight players from both the European and Asian Teams will be playing thirty six holes tomorrow in what promises to be one of the most exciting days for Asian golf. Major facilities have been set-up for the fans including a massive Entertainment Village featuring a Heineken Beer Park , multiple food and beverage stores, displays of some of the latest in golf equipment, limited edition Event merchandise and a variety of fun games. Convenient car parking is available for the public and tickets are available at the entrance of the Amata Spring Country Club.

“This is a huge set-up. It must be the biggest for any ‘single sport event’ in the history of Thailand ;” said Lincoln Venancio, the Royal Trophy Managing Director.

“On the course there will be intense and thrilling golf while the Entertainment Village will provide a great “day out” for the fans,” added Lincoln Venancio.

A confident-looking Kuramoto called on the support of the Asian fans. “In team golf the fans play a very significant role. I call on the Asian people to come out to Amata Spring and cheer for the Asian Team and for your fellow Asians. We need your support in this historic match against the Europeans. We will do everything possible to win this inaugural Royal Trophy for Asia.”

The Royal Trophy will be held on January 5-8, 2006 at Thailand’s new world-class private club, Amata Spring Country Club. Sponsors of the tournament include Heineken, BMW Thailand, Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), Siam Commercial Bank and i-mobile. Tickets for the Royal Trophy are on sale at Thai Ticket Master (www.thaiticketmaster.com or call +662 262 3456) and Supersport stores. For further tournament information, please call +662 6408197 or visit the official website www.TheRoyalTrophy.com. The Royal Trophy is promoted globally by Entertainment Group Limited, is sanctioned by the Asian, Japan and European Tours and is organized in Thailand by Entertainment and Sports Co., Ltd.

The Royal Trophy - Europe vs Asia Golf Championship
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