Colin Montgomerie has been appointed European Team Captain for the fourth edition of the Royal Trophy to take place in Chonburi, Thailand on 8-10 January 2010. The eight-time Ryder Cup player for Europe has accepted the position after speaking with the legendary five-time Major winner Severiano Ballesteros who had previously planned to lead the European effort himself.
"Seve has invited me to captain Europe at the Royal Trophy and I am delighted to accept;" said the eight-time European Tour Order of Merit winner Montgomerie.
"It will be an excellent opportunity for me to spend time with some key players who are likely to be with me at Celtic Manor in October for the Ryder Cup;" added the current European Ryder Cup Captain.
The winner of three Open Championships, Ballesteros founded the Royal Trophy as a team match play competition to be played annually between the Continents of Europe and Asia. The two-time Masters champion led the Europeans in the Championship's first two editions with great success but confronted a serious health challenge when he was diagnosed with brain cancer in October 2008, only three months prior to his planned third consecutive captaincy at the Royal Trophy.
Close friend and legendary Ryder Cup partner Jose Maria Olazabal replaced Ballesteros for the third edition of the Matches and faced a powerful and most determined Asian Team, which prevailed over Europe for the first time ever by a score of 10-6.
Ballesteros has battled the health condition with great determination and success and has made excellent progress, to the extent that the Spaniard felt that he was likely to be able to lead the Continent for the upcoming edition of the Tournament. However, the all-time short game master decided that with the dates of the continental encounter approaching, it would be ideal to bring final certainty to the matter with the nomination of the holder of thirty-one European Tour titles Scotsman for the captaincy.
"It is best for the players to have complete certainty as to who will lead them in this great Match against Asia, and while my recovery has been very good, I am not certain that I will be ready to give our team the 110% effort it deserves. The role of captain is complex, difficult and demanding and I sincerely thank Colin, my very good friend, for taking this major responsibility;" said the charismatic Ballesteros, winner of ninety-one international titles.
"The Royal Trophy is very important to me. I have said many times, I believe this Competition will grow into one of the world's most important events and I do intend to, subject to my health, attend the Matches in 2010 in my role of Founder and Chairman of the Championship;" added the former world number one golfer.
"Colin is a great champion, a tremendous competitor and the next Ryder Cup Captain for Europe. I have the utmost confidence that he will lead our players with the greatest ability, passion and determination;" added Ballesteros, voted by Spanish authorities as Sportsman of the Century.
The newly-appointed Captain Montgomerie has inherited a fantastic collection of players previously selected by Ballesteros including world number seven Henrik Stenson, 2008 European number one Robert Karlsson and current European number three Martin Kaymer.
In what may prove to be a stroke of genius, the forty-six year old Montgomerie, who is presently selecting the final players for the European challenge, has decided to undertake the dual role of Captain and player, and face the Asians head on at the golf course together with his magnificent group of golfers. Montgomerie will carry all responsibilities of a captaincy including the pairing of the players, developing the strategy, motivating the troops and being the official Team representative while simultaneously competing against Asia's best players on the fairways.
"I am excited about being European Captain as well as representing our Continent as a player;" said Montgomerie, who made the Ryder Cup winning putt for Europe at Oakland Hills in 2004.
"I am really pleased to be representing Europe in Thailand and am determined to regain the Royal Trophy for Europe. I am looking forward to working with my counterpart, Asian Captain Joe Ozaki, and it would be wonderful to secure victory in what will be an important week for Seve;" added the Scotsman who remains unbeaten in all of his eight singles matches in Ryder Cup competition.
Born in Glasgow, Montgomerie is only the second European golfer to play in five successful Ryder Cup teams, was the top scorer for Europe at the Belfry in 2002 with four and a half points out of five and is the third highest point scorer in European Ryder Cup history with 23.5 points out of 36 matches. The former World Cup champion is the recipient of an Order of the British Empire from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
The fourth edition of the Royal Trophy will take place at the exclusive Amata Spring Country Club in Chonburi, Thailand on 8-10 January 2010. The Principal Award for the winning Continent is stewardship of the perpetual solid-silver sixteen-kilogram Trophy graciously donated by the world’s longest reigning Monarch, His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand.
The Royal Trophy Premier and Major Sponsors include Heineken, Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), PTT, Sports Authority of Thailand, Siam Commercial Bank, Sodick (Thailand) and THAI Airways. The Championship is also supported by Bangkok Metropolitan Administration and Chonburi Provincial Government. For further Tournament information, please call +662 651 9499 or visit the official website www.TheRoyalTrophy.com. The Royal Trophy is promoted by Entertainment Group Limited and Amen Corner S.A.