José Maria Olazábal has been appointed to captain the European Team at the sixth edition of the Royal Trophy. The match between the continents of Asia and Europe will be played at the Empire Hotel & Country Club in the Sultanate of Brunei on 14-16 December 2012 and is dedicated to the memory of the legendary five-time Major winner Severiano Ballesteros, who passed away earlier this year following a courageous battle against cancer.

“It will be a great honour to lead the European Team at the Royal Trophy and I am looking forward to the competition with great enthusiasm,” said the two-time Masters champion.

“The fact that the Royal Trophy has been dedicated to the memory of Seve makes the next edition of the matches extremely meaningful to me. I know how special representing Europe and the Royal Trophy were to Seve and this will be a very important occasion,” added Olazábal.

The Spaniard will be aiming for a double victory in continental team golf in 2012 as he will lead the Europeans at the Royal Trophy against Asia and at the Ryder Cup against the Americans.

“We are delighted with the selection of José Maria Olazábal as Captain for the European Team. In leading the Europeans he will be paying tribute to Seve Ballesteros and this will certainly be a truly memorable event,” stated Lincoln Venancio, the Royal Trophy Managing Director.

Ballesteros and Olazábal formed the most successful and charismatic partnership in Ryder Cup history, and Olazábal said he was compelled by the opportunity to play a leading role in an event that honoured his fellow Spaniard’s immense contribution to the sport.

Olazábal commented: “I know how special both the Ryder Cup and the Royal Trophy were to Seve, and to be a part of both of them in the coming year will mean a great deal to me.

“My great friendship with Seve will always mean so much to me. He is never far from my thoughts, but captaining Europe in two big team events will make those memories even more vivid.

“It would be a wonderful achievement if Europe could win both matches, and naturally that is what I and the players will be striving for. If we accomplish that, I am sure Seve will be looking down on us with a smile on his face.”

Olazábal replaced Seve as European Captain in the third Royal Trophy contest in 2009 following Ballesteros being diagnosed with a brain tumor and undergoing a dramatic series of operations.

The Royal Trophy has quickly developed into an extremely closely-fought affair, a fact that has helped establish it as one of the real highlights on the golfing calendar. The 2010 Match saw Europe reclaim the Royal Trophy, but only when Henrik Stenson holed a slippery seven-footer on the final green in the last singles match to clinch a nerve-jangling 8 ½ – 7 ½ victory. And the 2011 duel was just as dramatic, with Asia establishing a 6-2 lead on the first two days of competition, only to be denied by an incredible final day fightback that saw Europe secure a memorable 9-7 triumph.

Olazábal added: “The latest editions of the Royal Trophy could not have been more exciting or more competitive. Asian golf is clearly on the rise, helped by the success of the Royal Trophy, just as Seve predicted it would be.

“I am looking forward to returning to the Royal Trophy for a second time. Hopefully, by then we will have tasted success in the Ryder Cup, and it would be really special to have some of the players from that team alongside me at the Royal Trophy.

“We will be coming to win – but also to honour the memory of one of the greatest men to ever play our great sport.”

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