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Europe & Asia to compete for Royal Trophy

Europe's elite players will take on the best of Asia in a Ryder Cup-style competition in Thailand in January, organisers said on Wednesday.

Five-times major winner Seve Ballesteros has been named as Europe's non-playing captain for the inaugural Royal Trophy event at Bangkok's Amata Spring Country Club from January 5-8.

The competition, which will be an annual event comprising eight players on each team, has been sanctioned by the European, Asian and Japanese tours.

Six players of each team will be chosen according to each tour's Order of Merit and world rankings with the remaining two places to be captain's picks, according to event promoter Entertainment Group Limited.

The teams will compete in 16 matches involving foursomes, four-ball and singles.

Former Ryder Cup hero Ballesteros hailed the new competition as a historic development.

"Many of the great moments in my career have happened at the Ryder Cup," said the Spaniard. "As a player and captain these are truly unforgettable moments.

"I'm delighted to captain the European team in this historic first edition of the Royal Trophy. I believe it will grow into one of the world's great sporting competitions."

The first five years of the competition are expected to be played in Bangkok with the event after that alternating between Europe and Asia.

The first two players to qualify for Europe's team will be selected according to the tour's Order of Merit on October 31.

Asia's first two players will be chosen according to the official world rankings on November 7.

The eligibility process will be completed on December 12 with the captain's picks to be announced one week later.

Ballesteros warned that his team would be taking the competition very seriously.

"We will have a great team representing Europe," he said. "This is our pride and competitive spirit on the line."


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