Olazabal rails against European Tour decision

Last updated 01:43 22/12/2013

Relevant offers


Danny Lee makes solid start to Travelers Championship Donald Trump commits golf etiquette atrocity by driving on a green Lydia Ko to go head-to-head in short game challenge against men's star Phil Mickelson America's new US Open champion Koepka once considered quitting golf Professional golfers to fall under World Anti-Doping Agency's radar next season Phil Mickelson and 'Bones' Mackay end a 25-year relationship on the PGA Tour Boost for New Zealand Open men's golf tournament with co-sanction Tiger Woods receiving professional help to manage his use of painkillers Brooks Koepka caps a record week with US Open title Lydia Ko finishes 10th at Meijer LGPA Classic in Michigan

Spaniard Jose Maria Olazabal has criticised the European Tour's decision to launch the EurAsia Cup team match play event next year and said they should have re-established ties with the Royal Trophy.

Olazabal is captaining Europe in the seventh edition of the ongoing Royal Trophy matchplay event, which was launched in 2006 by his former Ryder Cup team mate and compatriot Seve Ballesteros and is backed by the Japan Golf Tour and China Golf Association (CGA).

The European Tour supported the venture before dropping it and then opted to launch a similar tournament in Malaysia next year with the Asian Tour, which used to host CGA tournaments before the Chinese opted to side with the rival OneAsia Tour.

"I know the European Tour sanctioned this event for two years and then a split occurred for some reason," Olazabal said in a statement released by the Royal Trophy on Saturday.

"But I do think they must sit down with the Royal Trophy people and work out their differences because it is such an important issue.

"The Royal Trophy will continue even if it is not sanctioned by the European Tour because it has great support from the Japan Golf Tour, the China Golf Association, and other important parties in Asia.

"But I know the organisers are keen to resolve this issue, and I would call on both sides to sit down and sort this thing out."

The Royal Trophy is being staged in China for the first time after Brunei hosted it last year and Thailand for the first five.

While the inaugural Royal Trophy boasted famed major winners Nick Faldo and Ian Woosnam as well as then world number 12 David Howell, Swede Henrik Stenson and Ireland's Paul McGinley, the current edition lacks the same gloss.

Thailand's Thongchai Jaidee is the best ranked player competing in China at world number 46, while Howell is back but now number 93. Spaniard Alvaro Quiros is the worst ranked of the 16 players at 278.

Thongchai will be team captain for the inaugural EurAsia Cup in March, but Olazabal thinks the new tournament is not necessary and European Tour chief George O'Grady should focus on finding new full field strokeplay events instead.

"We do not need another Asia v Europe match involving a maximum of twenty players when we already have a well-established Royal Trophy," said the twice Masters champion.

"But we do need more full field events, and I know other players feel the same way," he added.

The biennial EurAsia Cup will be held over three days at the Glenmarie Golf and Country Club in Kuala Lumpur from March 27-29 with Spain's Miguel Angel Jimenez playing and captaining Europe.

Ad Feedback

Former US Open champion Graeme McDowell and world number 26 Jamie Donaldson of Wales, Frenchman Victor Dubuisson ranked 32 and Spain's world number 35 Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano have already committed to playing.

Four more players will qualify for the European team via the world rankings, while the Asia side will feature Thongchai and the leading four players from the Asian Tour order of merit, the top three available from the world rankings and two captain's picks.

"Our relations with players from Malaysia, China, India, Thailand, Korea and Japan have been important to us for many years," O'Grady said last month at a promotional event for the new tournament which has been backed by the Ballesteros family.

"We see the development of the EurAsia Cup as a further commitment by us to assist in the development of golf throughout the region and to strengthening one of The European Tour's most important partnerships."

- Reuters

Special offers
Opinion poll

If she is able to, when do you expect Lydia Ko to win her first major?

Next year, she's so close

She's still working towards it, within three years

It may be longer than we think, within five years

The expectation might be too much, maybe never

Vote Result

Related story: (See story)

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content