Seve Ballesteros believes the fifth edition of the Royal Trophy will have golf lovers on the edge of their seats again with another nerve-shredding finish.

The pulsating 2010 contest was settled by Henrik Stenson’s ice-cool putt on the final hole of his match with Thongchai Jaidee, the last match on the course. And Seve predicted another cliffhanger on Sunday, in a filmed message broadcast to both teams at the Gala Banquet in their honour this week.

Seve said: “I am sure the Royal Trophy will be very successful again, and just as dramatic as last year, and I hope the best team wins.

“Although I cannot be with you I have enjoyed watching the last two matches on television, and I have been able to feel the positive energy generated by the competition. The Royal Trophy is getting stronger year on year, and is fulfilling the philosophy of helping the game develop, especially in Asia, but also in Europe, and worldwide.

“So thank you for all the support, and I want to say a big thank you to the Prime Minister of Thailand and his team, to both Captains, Colin Montgomerie and Joe Ozaki, and to their great teams.”

Seve has been unable to attend the last three Royal Trophy clashes after undergoing surgery to remove a cancerous brain tumor in October 2008. He completed his latest bout of treatment last month, and his doctors say the fact he is continuing to make progress more than two years after his operation is hugely encouraging.

His message was particularly poignant for fellow Spaniard Pablo Martin, one of the stars of Europe’s 2010 triumph and a key figure in their plans for a successful defense. His father died from cancer a few weeks after last year’s Royal Trophy victory, after showing the same courage that has epitomised Seve’s struggle against the disease.

Martin commented: “My father was a wonderful man, the person who introduced me to golf and always a big influence on me. We all loved him so much, and I was so proud that he was able to see my victory in the Alfred Dunhill Championship shortly before last year’s Royal Trophy, and to witness my winning debut in a European team.

“Seve was an inspiration to us both, which is why I feel so honoured to be invited to play in the Event that he founded, the Royal Trophy.

“After my father passed away I wanted so much to do something on the course to honour his memory, a victory that I could dedicate to him. Maybe I tried too hard, and that affected my game, which was not where I wanted it to be for most of 2010. But when I returned to defend my title at the Alfred Dunhill Championship I seemed to feed from all the good memories of a year ago, and I managed to win it again.

“A year like that leaves a mark on you forever, but it was good to end it in such a positive way. Now I want to be part of another successful title defense at the Royal Trophy, and I am pleased to be part of such a powerful European team.

“But the Asian team looks stronger than ever, so it will be extremely difficult for us to hold onto this title. Like Seve, I expect this to be another great match, which will help to establish this Event even more firmly on the golfing calendar. I cannot wait to get started.”

“Seve has been such an inspiration in the development of the Royal Trophy;” said Lincoln Venancio, the Royal Trophy Managing Director.

“Because of Seve’s association with the Royal Trophy from the very beginning, this Championship must grow into something much larger and more significant than a regular golf tournament. This series of matches will always remind us of Seve’s charisma, determination and amazing career;” added Lincoln Venancio.

The Fifth Edition of 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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