Asian Team Captain Naomichi ‘Joe’ Ozaki has delivered a surprising strike appointing Chinese star Liang Wen-chong as Vice-Captain of his fighting force for next month’s Royal Trophy.

Liang, who has been a member of the Asian Team at the previous three editions of the Royal Trophy matches, brings extensive experience to the Asian Team and has been selected by Captain Ozaki to act in numerous arenas within his Vice-Captaincy. He is expected to further enhance the Team’s strategic capability, to support Ozaki in communicating with the players on the golf course during the matches and to inspire and support the players – especially Royal Trophy rookies Wu Ashun, Bae Sang-moon and Yoshinori Fujimoto.

The sixth edition of the Royal Trophy, which brings Europe and Asia together for a monumental continental team match play encounter, will be held on 14-16 December at The Empire Hotel & Country Club in the Sultanate of Brunei.

Having opted for an eye-catching combination of youth and experience in the first seven of his eight player nominations, Ozaki decided to further strengthen his side by adding a Vice-Captain who commands great respect from his peers, carries the confidence of having participated in the Asian victory at the Royal Trophy in 2009 and was also a Member of the teams that fell short by such narrow margins in 2010 and 2011.

The Asian Captain commented: “I am delighted Liang Wen-chong has agreed to act as my Vice-Captain. I am sure his experience will be a calming influence in the team room.

“Liang was a key member of our team when we prevailed over the Europeans in 2009. He played fantastic golf in that occasion and performed with great confidence. That was an exhilarating win which will be highly guarded in our hearts forever.

“When you consider the latest two editions of the Royal Trophy, the difference between winning and losing was extremely small. In 2010 it came down to a single putt on the 18th hole of the last match. And in 2011 we had a very solid lead going into the final day but were surprised by the Europeans in the singles.

“It is always easy to look back and think, “what if”. But this is not productive – instead we need to prepare as well as we can. I certainly realize that the next edition of the Royal Trophy could be won or lost by one or two minor decisions.

“Both teams are very strong and all of the players nominated up to now are great champions. All players appointed are tournament title winners, all of the Europeans have Ryder Cup experience, and all together the players have won thirteen Order of Merit titles – eight European, three Japanese and two Asian. All of these players can produce golf of the highest standard.

“I decided that in addition to having the very best players with the highest chance of winning points on the golf course, I also want to have a great mind with me strategizing, considering, discussing and communicating with the players.

“I know Liang well – as he has played frequently in our Japan Golf Tour. I am looking forward to having him with me when we face the challenge of overcoming Olazabal’s Europeans,” concluded the legendary Captain who will be leading Asia for the fifth consecutive time.

Liang has been the de facto ambassador of Chinese professional golf for many years and remains in strong playing form, having recorded his 18th professional career victory in dramatic style last month at the Nanshan China Masters – where he prevailed over Royal Trophy teammate Korean Y.E. Yang in a play-off to secure the victory.

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