Olazabal calls on European Tour to back Royal Trophy

Sat Dec 21, 2013 6:30am EST
 
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(Reuters) - Spaniard Jose Maria Olazabal has criticized 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 organizers 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.   Continued...

 
Spanish golfer Jose Maria Olazabal acknowledges the audience's applause after receiving the 2013 Prince of Asturias award for Sports from Spain's Crown Prince Felipe during a ceremony at Campoamor theatre in Oviedo, northern Spain, October 25, 2013. REUTERS/Eloy Alonso