Tag: Royal Trophy

Matteo the World Golfer

Matteo the World Golfer

Matteo Manassero’s been in Asia, the Middle East, off to the States, then to Europe and now back in Asia all since January.

I caught up with him this week at the Maybank Malaysian Open where he had arrived on Monday to really taken in playing back on the slower greens.IMG_1467

I first asked Matteo what were his recollections of playing in his first Royal Trophy?

‘It was amazing. Nobody expected us to win and we as a team were on a high and felt we could win. Everything went right from the beginning actually, and we were up after three holes right to the end. It was fantastic really!’

That was Matteo’s first time in Thailand and he told me he really enjoyed the trip.

‘I enjoyed staying in Hua Hin and I liked Thailand. Everyone there does not have any problems, and you don’t see anger in Thailand. Everyone is smiling and that’s what makes Thailand such a great place.’

I then asked him what he thought about playing at Black Mountain.

‘I think it is a good course. It was fantastic. It was always in good condition and is a well shaped course and the greens are pure. The shape of a course is what makes a great course. It’s quite a long course but I enjoyed that week. The par 3 hole 11 is fantastic with the lake and it is one of the tough holes there. I know Johan Edfors and a few of the other guys actual practice there in the winter and it is definitely a good idea.’

Compared with us weekend golfers and even the Asian Tour players, you guys at the Royal Trophy were getting onto the greens on a few of the par 4’s.

‘Yes we were able to get close with the following wind, so it was worth the go,’ he told me.

Finally I asked him if he plans to keep Asia on his schedule in the future.

‘Yes definitely. I am a great fan of a worldwide tour, as you want to play in Europe, the States, the Middle East and here in Asia. If there is a chance of playing a Worldwide Tour that would be good. It is just a great experience.’

He’s currently ranked 57 in the World and with a good showing in KL where he lead the first round Matteo could be soon in the top 50 at the age of 17 years old.

 

Thailand Really Is A Golfer’s Paradise

Thailand Really Is A Golfer’s Paradise

Royal Trophy 2011 We all get bombarded by travel agents jargon or see the Tourist Boards latest TV adverts extolling their countries fantastic features. One such feature here in Thailand is golf!

Well I can safely say that Thailand golf is in a very healthy state here in the Kingdom of smiles with thousand of overseas players playing here every year. But it’s not just the tourists who love it here, so do the professionals who make their living out of the game.

Thailand recently hosted the 5th edition of the Royal Trophy, Seve Ballesteros’s version of the Ryder Cup, with Europe playing the best of Asia. This year’s edition moved down to Hua Hin’s Black Mountain, one of my favourite Thai golf courses. It seems that several of Captain Colin Montgomerie’s team also agree with me too.

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Royal Trophy Cliffhanger Ending!

Royal Trophy Cliffhanger Ending!

After the amazing scenes at the 2010 Ryder Cup with Greame MacDowell putting to win, I thought I'd seen it all!

Obviously not!!!

Black_Mountain_091115685 The Royal Trophy looked like a gimme for Asia, after Europe failed to win one of the four matches on day two at Thailand's Black Mountain Golf Club in Hua Hin.  Asia were needing only two and half points from the eight single matches to clinch victory. Team captain Colin Montgomerie was shell shocked!

Monty bravely put on a good front at that evenings press conference, and said that they had been soundly beaten, but he still had faith in his European players.

The Asian team had most of their top players in Hua Hin, with the exception of Y E Yang and KJ  Choi, whereas Monty had decided to give some of his younger players a chance.

He made a very wise decision to send out his number one ranked player Peter Hanson the only member of the victorious Ryder Cup team at Black Mountain to play in the first rubber against China's number one Liang Wen-chong.

Joe Ozaki the Asia captain then announced his 4th player would be Ryo Ishikawa, and after a minutes pause while he looked at his notes, Monty paired Ryo with Rhys Davies , known as the World's best putter.

The battle commenced at 10.35hrs on Sunday morning, and Hanson went 6 up to eventually show everyone that the European challenge had teeth.

Ryo hit his drive on the second hole into the water, and Rhys putted in to go one up after two.

Much to everyones amazment the scoreboards around the Black Mountaincourse were turning blue for Europe who were up in 4 matches, all square in two with only Jeev Milka Singh and Thongchai Jaidee one up.

Rhys then won his match on the 15th and soon after was joined by Stenson who squared his match on the 18th green against Asian Tour No 1 Noh Seung-yul. Monty soon followed by winning at the 17th green, but with Asia still up in two, it was anyones title.

They were golf buggies flying all over the final four holes as both team captains and their players went to support the final pairings.

Matteo Mannassero, the Italian 17 year old, made an astonishing 2nd shot from 140 yrds straight to within two feet of the pin to clinch his match on the 17th, to the cheers of his team mates.

But still Pablo Martin from Spain, had to go to the last hole with Jeev one up. Jeev had a horrible second shot from the edge of the grass by the fairway bunker, which meant he could not reach the green. Pablo also laid up on this long par 5. However his third shot into the green was magnifcent under enormous pressure. He got to within three feet of the hole to go one up. The crowd errupted and Europe had won the 5th edition of the Royal Trophy.

Coming up behind was Johan Edfors against Thongchai who managed to square his match again on the 18th hole.

Seve Ballesteros set up the Royal Trophy to promote the game of golf and to encourage youngsters to take up the game. With so many of the World's top youngsters playing this week at Thailand's top golf tournament, I think Seve would have been very proud and pleased with a fantastic advert for golf.

I am sure that viewers in 250 countries who watch the tournament live would have been glued to their seats.

Well done everyone especially Captain Montgomerie OBE.

 

Media Scrum at Royal Trophy Press Conference!

Media Scrum at Royal Trophy Press Conference!

Interest in the Royal Trophy is already extremely high, with over 250 journalists from Europe and Asia keen to get their pictures and stories, at yesterday’s press conference.

Although Ryder Cup Captain Colin Montgomerie OBE is here in Thailand, along with a host of top stars, the media’s attention was focused on super star Rio Ishikawa, the Japanese pin up boy.IMG_6826

In 2010 Rio made a World record closing round of 12 under par 58 and is returning to represent Asia at the Royal Trophy for a third successive time, and he is still only 19 years old.

Europe not to be out done, have invited their very own super kid, Italy’s Matteo Manassero. Matteo won his first European Tour title at just 17 years old, claiming the Castello Masters last October. He was also recently named European Tour’s Rookie of the Year 2010.

Latest team news is that Eduardo Molinari has had to pull out of the European Team due to injury and Fredrik Andersson Hed has flown in last night to take his place.

Peter Hanson, Thomas Bjorn, Johan Edfors, Matteo Manassero, Henrik Stenson, Pablo Martin and Rhys Davies make up the rest of Monty’s team.

Asia has ten of their players in Thailand to choose from, as Jeev Milka Singh is still recovering from a back injury. He told the media yesterday that he would eventually decide if he was fit to join the team after today’s pro am at Black Mountain Hua Hin.

Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee, who is the only player to have taken part in every Royal Trophy match said’ He felt that the Hua Hin course was tougher than last year’s host Amatar Spring Golf Club, and that everyone will need to be aware of some of the greens.’

European team member Rhys Davies from Wales, who is known as the World’s Best Putter, maybe has an advantage, but everyone is predicting a very close fight to the finish on Sunday January 9th at Black Mountain Hua Hin.

The enormous media interest in this event is great for sponsors Tourist Authority of Thailand, as it is promoting golf in Thailand to the masses of fans around the World.