Ballesteros targets Royal Trophy return
Wednesday 07 January 2009
Seve Ballesteros says he plans to resume his Royal Trophy involvement next year, as the Europe and Asia teams prepare to stage the 2009 edition without him from Friday.
Ballesteros was initially slated to be Europe's captain for the upcoming continental showdown before the diagnosis of a brain tumor late last year that required multiple operations. He was replaced by Spanish compatriot Jose Maria Olazabal.
The four-time major winner wished both teams good luck in a message that was read out at a press conference today.
"My heart and thoughts are with you," Ballesteros' message read. "I will keep fighting to win my most difficult match. I hope to be with all of you next year.
"Special thanks to Oli for taking over the captaincy. He is not only a great champion but is also one of my best friends."
Olazabal said Ballesteros, who led Europe to the Royal Trophy title in 2006 and 2007, had urged another victory in the approaching event to be played at Amata Spring Country Club in Thailand's Chonburi province.
"The last instruction that I received from Seve was to win. Period," Olazabal said.
"Seve showed how good he was as a player and then as a captain. I will try to follow him. These eight guys are great players and I'm positive that we will win which is our goal.
"I have every confidence in my players. They have shown they can play great golf under the gun but we respect the Asian team. It will be a tough match."
Ireland's Paul McGinley, who had experience of winning for Europe in the Ryder Cup and Royal Trophy, will be a key component of the visiting team, which included English duo Oliver Wilson and Nick Dougherty, Sweden's Niclas Fasth and Johan Edfors, Paul Lawrie of Scotland, Spain's Pablo Larrazabal and Denmark's Soren Hansen.
The Asian team will be captained by Japan's Naomichi "Joe" Ozaki.
The Thai duo Thongchai Jaidee and Prayad Marksaeng will be the favorites for local galleries. The Asian team also includes South Korea's Charlie Wi and S.K. Ho, China's Liang Wenchong plus Japanese 17-year-old Ryo Ishikawa and his compatriots Hideto Tanihara and Toru Taniguchi.
Asia has lost both previous editions of the Royal Trophy, 7-9 in 2006 and 3-1/2 to 12-1/2 in 2007, with Ozaki captain for the lopsided 2007 event.
"I was a bit disappointed from last time," Ozaki said. "This time I'm confident with my players. We have a strong team. I want revenge. I want to see my players show guts and fighting spirit."
The Royal Trophy, which was canceled in 2008 due to Thai mourning over the death of the king's sister, includes singles, foursomes and four-ball play.
Latest in Sport
Kevin Garside: Manchester United may have history and tradition but, as David Moyes never realised, a big-time manager always bends such things to his will
Louis van Gaal denies problem with Wilfried Zaha despite Manchester United forward being given no game time
Manchester United latest: Angel Di Maria move no closer as Juan Mata emerges as Louis van Gaal's favoured No 10 as prospect of signing
Arsenal: Arrival of Calum Chambers and David Ospina puts Arsène Wenger's spending past £50m
Tour de France 2014: Vincenzo Nibali confirmed as champion as he puts Italy back on the map with triumph
- 1 Christians: The world's most persecuted people
- 2 Israel-Gaza conflict: The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts
- 3 Thatcher ‘was warned of Tory child sex party claims’
- 5 The Simpsons Family Guy trailer: First look at crossover episode after Comic-Con debut
Israel-Gaza conflict: The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
Opponents of Israel's military operation in Gaza are the real enemies of Middle Eastern peace
Were 'Poor Doors' added to mixed developments so wealthy residents don't have to go in alongside social housing tenants?
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia