Naomichi ‘Joe’ Ozaki is looking forward to another Royal Trophy cliff-hanger after deciding there is nothing to separate the Asian and European Teams.

The previous edition of the Championship, played in 2010, went down to the final putt on the final green of the final match, and Asia Team Captain Ozaki said he would not be surprised to see a repeat performance this time.

Ozaki arrived in the coastal town of Hua Hin last night and admitted the strategy he and rival Captain Colin Montgomerie adopt at Black Mountain Golf Club could have a decisive bearing on the result.

He explained: “The two Teams looked very evenly-matched once again, and I believe we will see a series of very competitive matches full of high quality golf, just as we did in 2010.

“I was naturally very disappointed that we lost by a single point last year. But it is difficult to be dismayed when you consider that one putt was the difference between defeat, and a chance to make a successful defence of the Royal Trophy in an exciting sudden death play-off. The Competition needs matches like that – but hopefully with a different result this time.

“If the match proves as finely-poised as it was last year it could be decided by one piece of captaincy, either an inspired choice or even a piece of good fortune.

“And if it does come down to that I have to hope Monty has used up his luck with his Royal Trophy win and another close victory at the Ryder Cup – although I wish to congratulate him for that win against the American team. It was a wonderful spectacle, just as the Royal Trophy was in 2010, and contests like those can only enhance the reputation and the image of golf across the world.”

Ozaki originally insisted he would only serve as Asian Captain for one year, especially after his Team suffered an emphatic defeat in 2007. But he will lead the Asian Team into battle for the fourth time this week, and insisted he has no plans to stand down soon.

He said: “My first thought in 2007 was to stand aside for someone else to see if they could improve the situation after our defeat in 2007, but my own competitive spirit dictated that I should try to do better myself.

“Our win in 2009 vindicated that decision, and it was so close and so thrilling last year that it was impossible not to want to be a part of it again. The more I do this the more I want to be involved again, especially when I see the Asian players using it as a powerful springboard to great success as individuals on the international scene.

“That is very rewarding, and I have high expectations that the players on my Team this year will make a big impact internationally in 2011.”

“Asian Team Captain Naomichi ‘Joe’ Ozaki seems to be very confident and very well prepared to lead his Asian Team into battle against the Europeans;” said Lincoln Venancio, Managing Director of the Royal Trophy.

“The fifth edition of the Royal Trophy promises to be very competitive and truly spectacular;” concluded Lincoln Venancio.

The Royal Trophy is organized by the Sports Authority of Thailand in conjunction with the Prachuap Khirikhan Province, the Hua Hin Municipality and Entertainment and Sports Co., Ltd. The Competition is promoted internationally by Entertainment Group Limited.

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