WILL TRIUMPH OVER ASIA, SAYS CAPTAIN AOKI
April 13: A confident Japan captain Isao Aoki is looking to
give Asia a taste of their own medicine when the teams clash
in the Visa Dynasty Cup at Mission Hills Golf Club starting
lingering memories of the nine-point drubbing at the hands
of Asia in the inaugural Ryder Cup-style showdown two years
ago and the Japanese golf legend is trying to fire up his
star-studded line-up to not only play for a win but to do
it in style.
time round, we lost by a lot of points. This week I'm looking
forward to a big win. I have talked to all the players and
we have the same goal which is to beat the Asian team. Our
players are strong this year and I'm happy," said Aoki
Katayama, last year's Japan Tour number one, and world number
24 Shigeki Maruyama will spearhead the team and the late withdrawal
of Toshimitsu Izawa because of a flu bug has not dampened
could have been ready to tee up for Friday's Foursomes but
Aoki did not want to take the chance and called up rising
star Takuya Taniguchu, last year's Rookie of the Year in Japan,
as his replacement.
is unfortunate for Izawa as he would have been a good partner
for Shigeki as they won the World Cup together (in 2002).
But this is a team event and our players know that this should
not affect them," said Aoki, who was inducted into the
World Golf Hall of Fame last year.
counterpart Hsieh Min-nan is convinced that the Asian team,
led by current Asian Tour number one Thongchai Jaidee and
Chinese ace Zhang Lian-wei, will rise to the challenge once
again. "We have the stars from various countries in the
Asian Team. Two years ago, Japan underestimated our team but
they have brought out their top players and they look very
strong," said Hsieh.
can count on some of his in-form players to deliver the points
again. Thongchai and compatriot Thaworn Wiratchant won co-sanctioned
events with Europe recently while Mardan Mamat, Singapore's
first player in the Visa Dynasty Cup, qualified for the British
Open last week.
could opt for country allegiance when picking his line-up
for Friday's Foursomes and Saturday's Fourball, a move which
drove them to the convincing triumph in 2003. He has five
Thai players, two Indians, two Chinese and one each from the
Philippines, Singapore and Korea in his team.
our team consists of some of the best players from each country,
it is a challenge to get them to gel as a team. We had a meeting
this morning to talk about the pairings and I will respect
their opinions and feelings. They play on the Asian Tour regularly
and know each other well. This will influence our decision
when the foursomes draw is made tomorrow," said Hsieh.
have a lot of experience in our team and the newcomers have
all won titles in recent times. In 2003 we had a lot of success
pairing the players up according to their nationalities but
it may not necessarily be the same this week," said Hsieh.
There will be six foursomes (alternate shot) matches on Friday,
six fourball matches on Saturday and 12 singles on Sunday.
Asia need to win 12 points to retain the Visa Dynasty Cup.
Team: Thongchai Jaidee (Tha), Thaworn Wiratchant (Tha), Boonchu
Ruangkit (Tha), Angelo Que (Phi), Jyoti Randhawa (Ind), Mo
Joong-kyung (Kor), Prayad Marksaeng (Tha), Mardan Mamat (Sin),
Zhang Lian-wei (PRC), Liang Wen-chong (PRC), Thammanoon Srirot
(Tha) and Amandeep Johl (Ind)
team: Shingo Katayama, Katsumasa Miyamoto, Takashi Kamiyama,
Hideki Kase, Keiichiro Fukabori, Tomohiro Kondo, Tetsuji Hiratsuka,
Ryoken Kawagishi, Toru Suzuki, Hiroyuki Fujita, Shigeki Maruyama
and Takuya Taniguchi.
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