OZAKI SAYS ASIA HAS THE FEAR FACTOR


Joe Ozaki hopes to give rival Captain Colin Montgomerie good reason to fear his team, after hearing his rival captain say that Asia’s line-up is the strongest they have ever assembled.

The Asia team boasts three players in the world’s top fifty and four more in the top 100, and between them they won no fewer than 15 tournaments in 2010.

And Captain Ozaki beamed: “I’m so happy to hear that Monty has said that this is the strongest team Asia has fielded so far in the Royal Trophy.

“I have a lot of confidence in this line-up with so many great young players on the Asian team – and I’m very happy if Monty has some fear about competing against my team.

“I think he is right – this is the strongest Asian team so far.

“I feel very proud to be Captain of the Asian team for the fourth time, and after looking closely at both teams I am looking forward to another good fight with the European team.

“I have five very young players, and I am looking forward to seeing them grow and compete on the world stage, in the Majors and other big events.

“I am very proud of what they have already accomplished, and it will be interesting to see what they can achieve this week.”

But Montgomerie – who led Europe to a glorious Ryder Cup triumph over America in October – stressed they would not give up the Royal Trophy without a fight when the Continents collide at the Black Mountain Golf Club in Hua Hin this weekend.

He commented: “European golf is on a bit of a roll at the moment. As well as being the holders of both the Ryder Cup and the Royal Trophy, we have the world’s number one player in Lee Westwood and two Major winners in Graeme McDowell and Martin Kaymer. So our game has never been in a healthier state.

“We want to keep that going, and that means successfully defending this Royal Trophy. And I’m delighted to be back, and to be hosted so well here in Bangkok and at Black Mountain Golf Club in Hua Hin.”

“We are the defending champions but I look at the Asian team and the strength they have on board now, and you can see that Asia is booming in the world of golf, and we are going to be hard pushed this year.”

“But we will be giving it everything, putting one hundred per cent into defending our crown.”

“I’m very happy with the team has been selected. We are very positive and very confident that we can retain this title.”

“We have a good mixture of youth and experience, and that was the secret of our success at the Ryder Cup. But when I started playing for Europe in the Ryder Cup exactly twenty years ago, I could never have imagined I would be part of a competition where exactly half of the 16 players are 25 or younger.”

“I think is fantastic the way young players are coming to the forefront and winning big events so much earlier.”

“It augurs well for the future of the game, and that is what this great competition the Royal Trophy is all about – promoting the game to a wider audience.”

“I am just about managing to remain competitive at 47, but it is not easier when I am playing against players such as Matteo Manassero, one of my team members this week, who is actually thirty years younger than me.”

Montgomerie is again fulfilling a dual role as playing Captain at the 2011 Royal Trophy, just as he did when Europe regained the title from Asia a year ago.

And even though he has played hardly any golf in the past year – devoting himself to his duties as Ryder Cup captain instead – Manassero insisted Monty was ready to do himself justice on the course this week.

He said: Colin practised with me, Pablo Martin and Rhys Davies today – the three youngest members of our team – and trust me, he showed he still has plenty of game.

“He had an outrageous birdie on the 16th where he holed a monster putt – but he called it first, predicting the break perfectly. It was very impressive.”

“The Fifth Edition of the Royal Trophy promises to be very special and highly competitive;” said Lincoln Venancio, the Royal Trophy Managing Director.

“We are confident that the spectators following the matches at Black Mountain Golf Club and the television viewers following the competition throughout the over 250 countries and territories where the Championship is televised will witness magnificent golf;” concluded Lincoln Venancio.

The Royal Trophy is co-organized by the Sports Authority of Thailand, the Prachuap Khirikhan Province, the Hua Hin Municipality and Entertainment and Sports Co., Ltd. The Championship is promoted internationally by Entertainment Group Limited.

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