Europe’s quest to land the inaugural Royal Trophy has been given a massive boost with the inclusion of Ryder Cup legends Nick Faldo and Ian Woosnam.

The battle-hardened veterans have been named as captain’s picks by Seve Ballesteros and will add a wealth of experience to the European team for the showdown with Asia in Thailand in early January.

Six-time Major winner Faldo and 1991 Masters champion Woosnam join recent HSBC Champions victor David Howell and Irish ace Paul McGinley, winner of last month’s Volvo Masters in Spain, in spearheading the European challenge.

Faldo ranks as one of the greatest team players of all time, he has 11 Ryder Cup appearances to his name and still has the honour of being the all-time points scorer for Europe.

“I know from my Ryder Cup experiences that team golf is something special,” said Faldo. “I’m really looking forward to being part of the European team at the Royal Trophy, playing alongside with Seve as our captain. We go a long way back and we have had some great times at the Ryder Cup.”

“Seve and I together in a European team definitely makes for a very special occasion. We are certainly expecting a tough battle because we know the Asians would love to win this first tournament in front of their own fans.”

Woosnam, who took part in eight Ryder Cup events, added: “It’s an honour to be selected to represent Europe in the first Royal Trophy. Seve led us to win the Ryder Cup in 1997. Next year is my turn as captain and in 2008 it will be Nick¡’s turn. Obviously there is something very special between us which I am sure will be very apparent to the fans watching us at the Royal Trophy.”

Non-playing captain Ballesteros said Faldo and Woosnam would give his team vital team golf experience.

“The pressure in team golf is unlike anything else in the sport, you are playing not only for yourself, but also your team, your continent and your fans,” said Ballesteros. In this environment, experience is essential, and Nick and Ian are two of the all-time greats. I am proud to have both of them on our team for the Royal Trophy.”

“We are putting together a very powerful European team for the Royal Trophy. Nick and Ian bring tremendous experience while David and Paul are playing excellent golf right now and are both coming from winning big tournaments. These players will be part of a fierce and very strong team who will make our continent proud. We are coming to Thailand to win the Royal Trophy.”

The Royal Trophy, the first-ever team tournament between Europe and Asia, will take place at Amata Spring Golf Club, Bangkok, from January 5-8, 2006.

Each team will be comprised of eight players, led by a non-playing captain, competing in a series of 16 matches involving foursomes, four-ball and singles. The event has been sanctioned by the Asian, Japan and European Tours.

Five-time major winner Ballesteros, whose charisma and competitiveness were critical in turning the Ryder Cup into the most compelling viewing in world golf, has played a major role in bringing the Royal Trophy to fruition.

Completing the Ryder Cup connection are the men who have been chosen to captain the European team in the next two matches. Woosnam will lead the team for the 36th Ryder Cup at the K Club, Ireland next September, while Faldo will fufil the prestigious role at Valhalla Golf Club, Kentucky, in 2008.

Masahiro “Massy” Kuramoto, one of Asia’s most decorated golfers with 30 Japan Tour titles to his name, is Asia’s non-playing captain and will unveil his team in the coming weeks.

“Having the European team led by Seve Ballesteros as Captain and counting with the participation of Nick Faldo and Ian Woosnam as players is truly exceptional. This will be a remarkable inaugural edition of the Royal Trophy,” concluded Lincoln Venancio, the Royal Trophy Managing Director.

The Royal Trophy - Europe vs Asia Golf Championship
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