• Sat
  • Oct 25, 2014
  • Updated: 5:59am
SportGolf

Olazabal out to end Royal Trophy losing streak in Guangdong

Spaniard is Europe captain again, hoping for a reversal of fortune after two previous losses to Asia

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 19 December, 2013, 10:27pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 19 December, 2013, 10:27pm
 

Former Ryder Cup captain Jose Maria Olazabal is aiming to fill a void in his trophy cabinet by leading Europe to victory in the Royal Trophy against an Asian team led by Y.E. Yang.

Twice previously the Spaniard has been a losing captain in the matchplay contest that was founded by the late Seve Ballesteros.

It is a record Olazabal hopes to put straight when the seventh edition of the annual event tees off on Friday at the Dragon Lake Golf Club in Guangdong.

The two-times US Masters champion, who masterminded Europe's stunning Ryder Cup triumph at Medinah last year, admitted the lack of a Royal Trophy win was a "blot on his record as a captain".

"I serve notice to Asian captain Y.E. Yang and his players that I do not intend to allow this state of affairs to continue," he said.

We are aware that this is a very strong Asian team - but I think you will see that so is ours
Jose Maria Olazabal

"I take the captaincy very seriously and the Royal Trophy is very special to me because my dear friend Seve Ballesteros asked me to take over from him as the team leader in 2009.

"We all still mourn Seve's passing two years ago. Wanting to fulfil his faith in me adds another dimension to my determination to emerge as a winner in the competition he dreamed up, and then brought to glorious fruition."

However, Olazabal acknowledges it will not be easy to wrestle back the trophy, which Asia won for only the second time in Brunei last year.

"We are aware that this is a very strong Asian team - but I think you will see that so is ours," said Olazabal.

The eight-man European line-up is Bernd Wiesberger of Austria, Danish player Thorbjorn Olesen, Belgium's Nicolas Colsaerts, Englishman David Howell, Spaniard Alvaro Quiros and the Scottish trio of Paul Lawrie, Stephen Gallacher and Marc Warren.

"We have world-class players, Ryder Cup winners and players who have won tournaments all over the world. We have respect for our opponents, but it is our intention to go out and kick ass," said Olazabal.

Five of the European team are ranked in the world's top 100. The highest-placed player in the Asian team is 46th-ranked Thai Thongchai Jaidee, who will spearhead Yang's team.

Yang, Asia's sole major winner following his victory at the 2009 PGA Championship, is confident Asia can retain the Royal Trophy for the first time, although he conceded that the late withdrawal of Japan's Hideki Matsuyama through injury was a blow.

"I think we have one of the strongest and best balanced teams Asia has fielded so far," he said. "There were so many players in contention that I decided I could not pick myself. I think we are formidable opponents for any team."

In addition to Thongchai and his compatriot Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Yang is relying on his South Korean compatriots K.T. Kim and Kim Hyung-sung, China's Liang Wenchong and Wu Ashun and the Japanese duo of Ryo Ishikawa and Hiroyuki Fujita.

Share

For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 

Login

SCMP.com Account

or