Continents face off for Royal Trophy
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Asian golfers will take up their clubs to compete against their European rivals at the sixth Royal Trophy golf tournament on Friday in Jerudong, Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei.
Playing at the Empire Hotel and Country Club, players from the two continents will compete in a series of 16 foursomes on the first day, fourball matches on the second day and singles matches on the third and final day.
The point-based tournament, which was established by legendary golfer Seve Ballesteros in 2006, is expected to increase the sport’s popularity in Asia, much as the Ryder Cup has done in Europe.
Team Europe captain José Maria Olazábal and Team Asia captain Naomichi Ozaki were united in predicting another pulsating “Clash of the Continents” as their star-studded teams assembled at a press conference on Thursday.
Olazábal presented German star Marcel Siem, the final member of his line-up, in addition to Spaniards Miguel Ángel Jiménez and Gonzalo Fernández-Castaño, Italian brothers Francesco and Edoardo Molinari, Sweden’s Henrik Stenson and Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium.
Only Siem and Fernández-Castaño have never played in the biennial Ryder Cup.
On the opposing side, Ozaki’s line-up is packed with some of Asia’s most talented young players including Ryo Ishikawa and Yoshinori Fujimoto from Japan, Korean stars KT Kim and Bae Sang-moon, China’s Wu Ashun and Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand.
Ozaki has added a vital sprinkling of experience by selecting Asia’s first Major champion, YE Yang, and Indian star Jeev Milkha Singh, who has won big tournaments all over the world.