Colin Montgomerie predicted the Royal Trophy will continue to grow in stature and popularity, after admitting he had been hugely impressed by his first appearance in the competition.

The European Player-Captain, who will also lead the Ryder Cup team against the USA in October, said the Royal Trophy will play a vital part in Asia’s growth as a major player on the world stage.

And he said the vision of the event’s founder, Seve Ballesteros – who predicted it would prove as beneficial for Asian golf as the Ryder Cup was for Europe – was fast becoming a reality.

He explained: “This is my first taste of the Royal Trophy, and I have been very, very impressed with everything.

“I think the Royal Trophy can only expand, as can golf in Asia. This is the area of the world that is expanding in so many areas of life, not only in sport.

“The way golf is growing here in Asia shows Seve’s vision in founding this event was absolutely right. He saw this as the area that would expand most, and how true that is.”

Monty said he and his star-studded team were delighted with the welcome they received in Thailand – and by the standard of the competition they were taking part in.

He added: “We have enjoyed every minute of it, from the hospitality of everyone here in Thailand to the first class facilities at our hotel, and the immaculate condition of the course at the Amata Spring Country Club.

“For us as a European team to be here in one of the most hospitable countries in the world is terrific, and we feel fortunate to be playing in such a fantastic competition.

“It has all been wonderful. The weather has been awful in England, and it is great to be playing here in 35 degree temperatures. And to play before the expected 20,000 spectators here for the singles will be fantastic.”

Montgomerie’s views were echoed by world class European Players Henrik Stenson and Robert Karlsson, while Asian Team Captain Joe Ozaki and his leading Players were every bit as enthusiastic.

World number eight Stenson enthused: “I played here in 2006 and 2007, and it feels like this tournament has been growing every year. The crowds are building all the time, and they are very well-behaved too.”

Fellow Swede Karlsson added: “This competition has grown enormously since I was last here in 2007. There are better players and a lot more spectators.

“Asian golf is producing more top quality players and there is a truly great atmosphere around this event.

“The 2007 competition was one of the first, but I hope we can all help it continue to progress, because it is fantastic to be here playing in such a wonderful atmosphere.”

Captain Ozaki and two of his leading players – China’s Liang Wen-chong and Charlie Wi of Korea – confirmed the competition had captured the imagination of the Asian public.

Ozaki said: “In Japan the popularity of this tournament has been growing very rapidly. It is a great opportunity for Asian nations to unite and compete against the European team.

“That does not happen in any other sport. It is very important for Asian golfers, and I am very keen to see how far this competition can go. In Japan people are now looking forward to this as the opening tournament of the year.

“It is very cold in Japan too, and with no other events being played there is a lot of interest from everyone involved in golf.”

Liang said he would do his utmost to ensure it will be a similar story back home in China.

He remarked: “This is a great opportunity for Asian golfers to communicate and compete with European players. It is my second time here and I want to tell everyone in China about my experience of this competition.

“We all know golf is booming in China, and I want to tell the players there how this tournament is growing.”

Wi acknowledged the part played by Asia’s ‘wonder boy’ – Ryo Ishikawa – in helping to raise the profile of the competition.

But he said that had merely ensured the Royal Trophy had a solid foundation to build on.

“Ryo drew a lot of interest last year, and again in his second year here. That has helped it to become bigger,” said Wi.

“Now, more and more players will want to compete here, because it is a great competition and an excellent way to gear up for the season ahead. The players really enjoy being here.”

“The stage is set for a magnificent fourth edition of the Royal Trophy;” stated Lincoln Venancio, Managing Director of the Royal Trophy.

“It is clear that the Captains and players from Asia and Europe believe that the Royal Trophy is soundly growing into one of the world’s great sporting landmarks;” concluded Lincoln Venancio.

The Royal Trophy is organized in Thailand by the Sports Authority of Thailand and Entertainment and Sports Co., Ltd. The Championship is promoted internationally by Entertainment Group Limited.

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