Ballesteros Family Rejects Asian and European Tour Plans

travel_index_717Hong Kong (Hong Kong SAR) – January 6, 2014 – Vicente Ballesteros, brother of the late legendary five-time Major winner Seve Ballesteros who caddied for the charismatic golfer at all four Majors, has rejected his family supports the European and Asian Tour plans to create a Royal Trophy-like event to be held in Malaysia.

The seventh edition of the Royal Trophy was played on 20-22 December 2013 at Dragon Lake Golf Club in Guangzhou, China. The José Maria Olazábal-led European Team produced a glorious recovery on the final day of the competition and secured a dramatic 8 ½ – 7 ½ victory over the Y.E. Yang-captained Asian Team. The European success awards the continent stewardship of the perpetual sixteen-kilogram solid-silver Trophy graciously donated by His Majesty the King of Thailand.

Vicente Ballesteros said: “I was at the Royal Trophy in China and it was of huge pride for me the way the captains, the players, the China Golf Association, the Japan Golf Tour, Isao Aoki, Joe Ozaki and the entire tournament remembered Seve.

“I understand that Mr. George O’Grady at the European Tour is saying that Seve would have cherished this new tournament they are trying to create to damage the history and heritage of the Royal Trophy. This is not true. Seve was very emotionally attached to the Royal Trophy.

“I am certain that Seve would have found this new proposal to be in very bad taste and very disrespectful. My brother was a very fair man and he would never support this type of insincere actions. I don’t have any personal interest in the Royal Trophy, my only interest is respecting what Seve thought and wished.”

”Mr. O’Grady has also said that this new proposed event is supported by the Ballesteros family. Whenever anyone talks in public about any family, that person must be very careful. I wonder what he means. My brother Baldomero and I do not support this new proposed event at all.

“In fact we find this attempt disrespectful and I personally find incredible that anyone takes the liberty to talk on Seve’s behalf. We support the Royal Trophy and find this new proposed event to be misleading and very bad. I never imagined some people could go so far.

“During 2 years, 7 months and 2 days, I lived with my brother Seve, in his house, helping him while he was fighting brain cancer. During that time Seve told me several times how much he wanted to captain the European Team as he did in the first two editions of this competition. He really believed in this competition.”

Ivan Ballesteros, a Co-Managing Director of the Royal Trophy, nephew and manager of the late Seve Ballesteros and one of the persons attending the 2001 meeting when the concept of Europe playing Asia at the Royal Trophy was first developed said: “The European Tour has taken the position that their relations with players from Malaysia, China, India, Thailand, Korea and Japan have been important to them for many years. It is shocking that the European Tour would then propose a new event which seems to be directly copied from the Royal Trophy without even consulting with the Japan Golf Tour or the China Golf Association.

“The Japan Golf Tour and the China Golf Association fully sanction and support the Royal Trophy. In fact, the Japan Golf Tour has fully sanctioned and supported all seven editions of the Royal Trophy and will continue to sanction the Royal Trophy for many years into the future. The Executive Director of the Japan Golf Tour, Mr. Andy Yamanaka, is the Chief Tournament Director of the Royal Trophy.

“The China Golf Association will continue to fully sanction and support the Royal Trophy for at least the next decade.

“The Japan Golf Tour is the most extensive, traditional and established professional golf tour in Asia. The China Golf Association is the official governmental authority for golf in the People’s Republic of China. The Royal Trophy is very thankful for the great and long-term support provided by these two very important organizations in Asian golf.

“Apart from the support of these two major organizations, the Royal Trophy counts with the support of many players from both continents. I want to thank them for making this competition continue to grow year after year.

“Mr. George O’Grady said that although they sanctioned the Royal Trophy previously, they had fundamental differences of policy. I do not understand what he means and we invite Mr. O’Grady to openly set out what these differences are.

“I was personally told by the European Tour that if they ever sanctioned an event between Europe and Asia it would be the Royal Trophy. The Japan Tour has been sanctioning the Royal Trophy in all seven editions. What is it that makes the Japan Tour be part of it but not the European Tour and Asian Tour?

“Let’s face it, the Royal Trophy has been in place for seven editions and has gained a lot of respect and support from the players. It is unnecessary to have another Europe vs Asia tournament, especially when the Royal Trophy roots are as special as they are.”

In 2006 the late Seve Ballesteros predicted that the Royal Trophy would “… grow into one of the world’s greatest sporting competitions.” The winner of 50 European Tour tournament titles captained the European Team to victory in the two inaugural editions of the competition but had his plan to lead the Europeans for five editions cut short as a result of his fight against brain cancer.

Also in 2006 in an official message the European Tour’s O’Grady agreed with Seve Ballesteros’ vision and passion for the tournament. He said, “The Ryder Cup has grown into a highly successful and competitive event over the past 25 years and the Royal Trophy has the capacity to become an equally invigorating contest.”

In that inaugural year for the Royal Trophy, the Asian Tour’s Chief Executive Louis Martin reiterated the consensus view of a bright future for the competition: “The historic showdown is poised to change the landscape of professional team competitions as it will be the first time that Europe will clash against Asia. With the standard of golf rising in the Far East, the Royal Trophy will be a wonderful opportunity for Asia’s finest players to test their games against the best from Europe.”

At the conclusion of the seventh edition of the Royal Trophy, European Team Captain José Maria Olazábal said: “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.”

“We do not need another Asia vs Europe match involving a maximum of twenty players when we already have a well-established Royal Trophy,” added the two-time Masters champion Olazábal.

The eighth edition of the Royal Trophy will be held on 19-21 December 2014 at the Dragon Lake Golf Club in Guangzhou, China.

About The Royal Trophy:
The Royal Trophy – Europe vs Asia Golf Championship is the official and traditional competition played between the two continents. The seventh edition of the Championship was held on 20-22 December 2013 at Dragon Lake Golf Club in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province in the People’s Republic of China. The eighth edition of the Matches will be held on 19-21 December 2014 and will remain at the 54-hole Dragon Lake Golf Club. The Competition features Asia and Europe competing in a series of 16 foursomes, four-ball and singles matches. The Royal Trophy Players’ Committee is comprised of Sir Nick Faldo, Ian Woosnam OBE, José Maria Olazábal, Paul McGinley, Isao Aoki, Naomichi ‘Joe’ Ozaki and Jeev Milkha Singh.

For further information, please contact:

Doris Chang
Entertainment Group (Asia) Limited

Betty Cheung
Entertainment Group (Asia) Limited

Tel: (852) 2834 0060
Fax: (852) 2838 8593