Singapore: Korean stalwarts KJ Choi and YE Yang will assume key roles for the region in prominent team match play events.
While Yang will captain the Asian Team at the eighth edition of the Royal Trophy in China in December, Choi has been appointed as Nick Price’s Vice Captain for the Presidents Cup in Korea in October, 2015.
Choi, with eight PGA Tour wins to his name, is the most successful Asian golfer on the international stage and will be a pivotal figure in the 11th edition of the event that pits the best professional golfers from the United States against the top International players.
He said: “I am feeling immense obligation and burden. Until now, The Presidents Cup was held in an English-speaking world, and this is the first time that it’s being held in a non-English speaking world.
“With The Presidents Cup being held in Korea, I am quite sure that there will be renewed ideas of what golf is.”
Meanwhile, Yang has accepted the chance to try and win back the Royal Trophy for Asia after a sobering defeat to Europe last year.
Yang, the only Asian with a Major championship trophy to his name, said: “I am very happy to have the opportunity to continue my captaincy of the Asian Team at the Royal Trophy. This is a very special and important competition.
“Captaining the Asian Team at the Royal Trophy last year was a great experience, but it was also very painful to lose the match after our team led for the first 2½ days. As I said before, now there is blood in the water and we will do all possible to defeat the Europeans at Dragon Lake Golf Club. This is our mission and we take it very seriously.”
Last year, Asia led the matches until the back nine on the final day of singles matches, when the Jose Maria Olazabal-captained Europeans produced a miraculous recovery to secure victory by 8½-7½.
The Royal Trophy is the official and traditional competition between the continents of Asia and Europe. Sanctioned by the Japan Golf Tour, the China Golf Association and supported by the OneAsia Tour, the organisation features a Players’ Committee comprised of Isao Aoki, Sir Nick Faldo, Ian Woosnam, Naomichi ‘Joe’ Ozaki, Olazabal, Paul McGinley and Jeev Milkha Singh.
Andy Yamanaka, Royal Trophy Chief Tournament Director and Director of the Japan Golf Tour, said: “We congratulate YE Yang in his nomination as captain for the Asian Team for the eighth edition of the Royal Trophy. This is a significant responsibility and Yang certainly has the experience and stature to undertake it. He is very well capable to lead the Asian Team with the utmost competence.”
Meanwhile, Price had no qualms about installing Choi as his deputy. At last year’s Presidents Cup in Muirfield Village, Price sought input from Choi, who was making his third appearance as a player.
Zimbabwean Price said: “He had a lot of great ideas, a lot of great advice, which I used, which I also understood. So it was really an obvious choice for me when we were going to South Korea.
“I think he’s going to help me a lot over there with some of the difficulties that I may encounter, and he’ll make me feel very much at home there, too. This is going to be a huge event for Korea. Korea has become a powerhouse in golf over the past decade or so.”