Wrangling expected over next venue
'Shigeki who?' asked one leading promoter as Zhang Lianwei put the icing on the cake and the Asian Tour went into back-slapping mode. But when the dust settles on another great day for Asian golf, some wrangling is expected over the future venue of the Dynasty Cup.
Despite assurances from Mission Hills Group vice-chairman Ken Chu that the fast-emerging Ryder Cup-style event will return to the world's biggest golfing complex in 2007, sources say pressure is likely to come for the tournament to be switched to Japan or another Asian venue.
The Japanese have trouble adjusting to the different conditions in the rest of Asia - the courses, the grass, and the fans. Although toeing a diplomatic line, it is also understood they were not impressed with the condition of some of the greens on the World Cup course.
'The Dynasty Cup will definitely be held here again in two years,' Chu said. 'We were one of the creators of this tournament. It was set up to be here for three years, followed by Japan and then on to another Asian country.'
Asian Tour officials would not comment on the whereabouts of the next venue, saying only that it would be decided when an agreement is struck with the Japan Golf Tour Organisation (JGTO).
'Each time we have to agree everything with the Japan Tour and there is no agreement yet,' said Seamus O'Brien, president of World Sport Group, the promoters and organisers of the Dynasty Cup.
But one source said there were 'a lot of issues to be thrashed out'.
Andy Yamanaka, the director of competitions and international affairs for the JGTO, said Japan may not be quite ready to stage the Dynasty Cup, but a post-mortem of the weekend's events may change his mind.
'We don't know yet,' Yamanaka said when asked where the next Dynasty Cup would be staged. 'Our initial agreement was for the first three editions to be hosted by the Asian Tour. They might choose Mission Hills once again or look for another venue. If they come to us about holding it in Japan we can talk about it.
'I'm certainly interested in bringing the tournament to Japan in 2009,' said Yamanaka, one of the few Japanese who recognised the talent of the Asian players.
He said the defeat would boost the cup's profile even more in Japan, as everyone expected Maruyama and company to win.
'They were shocked when we lost in 2003,' he said. 'And now with this defeat the Dynasty Cup will be even better known.
'We sent a stronger team and everyone in Japan believed we would win. I didn't because I knew the Asian team was good and strong. They are used to this kind of course, the grass, and they have two Chinese players who had a lot of support. I knew these things would affect the Japanese team.
'Asia have proved to the rest of the world how good they are,' Yamanaka said. 'This tournament is becoming more and more prestigious. Everyone in Japan knows what the Dynasty Cup is. Two years ago they didn't.'