RHYS IS IN A ROYAL RUSH


Rhys Davies emphasised his eagerness to enjoy a taste of the action with Europe as he spearheaded the powerful force descending on the Royal Trophy.

The golfer hailed as the best putter in the world after just one season on the European Tour was the first player from either team to turn up at the stunning Black Mountain Golf Club in Hua Hin, Thailand. And he was quickly experiencing the speed of the greens as he waited for Colin Montgomerie and the rest of his European team-mates to join him for the eagerly-awaited fifth edition of the Royal Trophy.

Davies commented: “I guess being here this early is a sign of how excited – and honoured – I feel to be part of such a prestigious competition.

“After witnessing Europe’s fantastic Ryder Cup win at such close quarters in October – as part of Colin’s support team – I was even more determined to actually play for a European team as quickly as possible.

“I never dreamed my chance would come this quickly, but having been selected I was determined to leave nothing to chance in terms of preparation, which is why I flew in early on Sunday.

“And I also love playing out here in Asia. I actually played the Asian Tour in 2008 and the first half of 2009, shortly after I turned professional, and it was a great learning experience.

Davies, 25, moved onto the European Tour in 2010 after his Asian Tour experience, and proved an instant success. He chalked up his first professional victory at the Hassan Trophy, and posted two more top three finishes in quick succession as he made a bold bid to qualify for the Ryder Cup team.

The 2010 clash was staged at Celtic Manor in Wales, just a few miles from his home in Bridgend. And one of his most eye-catching performances came at the same venue, where a brilliant final round 62 saw him force eventual champion Graeme McDowell pull out all the stops for his Wales Open win. Davies eventually finished just outside the automatic qualifying places, after finding the handicap of giving his rivals a year’s start in the race for points just too much to overcome.

But his efforts were recognised when Montgomerie invited him to join his support group at Celtic Manor, saying it would be perfect preparation for a player who was certain to figure strongly for Europe in the future.

Davies will get the chance to show what he learned when Europe and Asia do battle for the Royal Trophy at Black Mountain Golf Club from January 7-9.

He added: “I was made very welcome in the European team room, and it was fascinating to be part of that atmosphere. I learned a lot from watching how the guys prepared, and how they knew when to switch off, and when to crank up the intensity.

“You only had to be in the team room for a few seconds to appreciate just how much it means to represent Europe – not just for Colin and his players, but for his assistants, the caddies, and everyone else connected with the team.

“I’m sure we will bring the same pride and passion to the Royal Trophy. That is certainly my aim this week. I want to prepare as meticulously as possible, and then psyche myself up for the competition.

“It is bound to be a big help having Colin alongside me as player-Captain, and having Peter Hanson from the winning team here as well.

“You could see at the Ryder Cup that Colin’s Vice-Captains, Darren Clarke, Paul McGinley, Thomas Bjorn and Jose Maria Olazabal, were all wishing they were actually out there playing. And they are all young enough and good enough to feel their chance will come again.

“Their desire underlines how much it means to play for Europe – and the fact that all four have also been involved in the Royal Trophy shows that this competition also has tremendous stature.

“I want to play for Europe on many occasions, and I intend to do all I can to make this first experience of it a memorable one.”

“We are looking forward to a great series of matches and are very appreciative of the Royal Thai Government for hosting the Championship;” stated Lincoln Venancio, the Royal Trophy Managing Director.

“We are very thankful for the support extended to the Royal Trophy by the Office of the Prime Minister and for the Sports Authority of Thailand organizing the Competition in conjunction with the Prachuap Khirikhan Province and the Hua Hin Municipality;” added Lincoln Venancio.

The Fifth Edition of the Royal Trophy is hosted by the Royal Thai Government; organized by the Sports Authority of Thailand, Prachuap Khirikhan Province and Hua Hin Municipality and promoted internationally by Entertainment Group Limited.

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