Seve Ballesteros’ power-packed European Team and Masahiro Kuramoto’s Asian all-stars are ready for battle.

After months of meticulous planning, les s than 48 hours remain before the protagonists lock horns in what promises to be an epic inaugural staging of the Royal Trophy at Thailand ‘s Amata Spring Country Club.

Spanish legend Ballesteros, one of the masterminds behind the launch of the Ryder Cup-style match play venture, said: “It’s great for me to see Europe and Asia, two continents of tremendous cultural diversity and history, coming together for this Tournament.”

“The Royal Trophy is a wonderful development for golf and I’m certain it will quickly establish itself as one of the most important events on the golfing calendar and grow into one of the world’s great sporting competitions.”

Japan’s Kuramoto concurs. He said: “The Royal Trophy provides a perfect platform for Asia’s finest golfers to prove they are capable of mixing it with the best. We’ve been waiting for an opportunity like this for many years and we’re raring to go.

“We are taking the challenge of defeating Europe with the utmost commitment, dedication and the greatest fighting spirit. To represent your country is a great honour. To represent your Continent has to be one of the proudest moments of a sportsman.”

The Royal Trophy will feature four foursome match es (starting at 7:20am) and four four-ball matches (starting at 11:45am) on day one (Saturday January 7). On the second day (Sunday January 8) there will be eight singles clashes (starting at 11:10am).

On the event that is destined to capture the imagination of golf followers throughout Asia and Europe , Ballesteros and Kuramoto predicted that pride and passion will be in much evidence as the respective eight-man teams vie for glory.

Said Ballesteros: “We are coming to Thailand fully committed to win the Trophy donated by His Majesty the King and to take it to Europe for the rest of the year. But I am also sure that both the European and Asian Teams will uphold the great traditions of the game of golf and compete with great fairness and sportsmanship.”

While Europe will be looking to make the most of the experience of Major champions and Ryder Cup stalwarts Nick Faldo and Ian Woosnam, Asia will be seeking inspiration from the Thai duo of Thaworn Wiratchant and Thongchai Jaidee as they bid to capture the dazzling 16-kilogram solid-silver Trophy.

“I will do everything humanly possible to win the Royal Trophy for Asia. This is about the pride and honor of our Asian people. It’s going to be a thrilling contest and we’re determined to be in possession of the Royal Trophy on Sunday night,” said Thongchai, who will be spurred on by the fact that the Royal Trophy marks the first major event to take place in commemoration of the 60th Anniversary of His Majesty’s Accession to the Throne.

“Thaworn and I are playing for Thailand and for Asia. Our responsibility in trying to defeat the Europeans to keep the Royal Trophy in Thailand is very serious. We have a great set of players in our Asian Team and I am confident that the Asian fans will come out in significant numbers and support us in a big way,” he added.

In addition to two outstanding teams, the Royal Trophy has a world-class venue in Amata Spring, which measures 7,453 yards from the championship tees and features a unique floating green at the par-three eighth hole, which is certain to capture the imagination of golf fans who will be watching the drama unfold on television.

Said Thongchai: “It is a challenging golf course which will do justice to a competition of the importance of the Royal Trophy. There is a lot of water in play, lots of well-placed bunkers and the length is also a factor.”

The legendary Ballesteros added: “The potential of the Royal Trophy is immense. We want to see it become a great competition for European and Asian golfers and fans.”

“Team golf is unique, highly competitive and generates great passion, while at the same time highlighting sportsmanship in its purest form.”

“Our Asian Team counts with the “home ground advantage” and in team golf the fans play a very significant factor. We count on the people of Asia to come out and cheer on our Asian Team. We need your support in making history for our Continent,” concluded the Asian golf legend Kuramoto.

“The inaugural edition of the Royal Trophy promises to be spectacular with all of the competitive spirit and energy that is clearly seen in both the European and Asian Teams;” said Lincoln Venancio; the Royal Trophy Managing Director.

“This will be a historic moment for golf and for Asian sport;” added Lincoln Venancio.

The Royal Trophy - Europe vs Asia Golf Championship
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