Colin Montgomerie will captain another European side when the Royal Trophy gets under way in Thailand today at Black Mountain in Thailand, with Europe looking for a fourth victory. After Asia’s first victory by four points in 2009, Montgomerie captained Europe to a one-point win last year, the same margin of victory at Celtic Manor.
Peter Hanson is the only member of the victorious Ryder Cup competing in Thailand, where vice-captain Thomas Bjorn and buggy driver Rhys Davies are also being reunited with Montgomerie. The Scot can also call upon the services of Swedish duo Henrik Stenson and Johan Edfors, Italian prodigy Matteo Manassero and Spain’s Pablo Martin.
Stenson missed out on a third Ryder Cup in 2010 after a poor season by his standards, but has gladly swapped a snow plough for a golf buggy in Thailand. The 34-year-old was greeted on site by Edfors, who bought a villa overlooking the course after winning the Black Mountain Masters in 2009.
Stenson said: “Johan took great delight in telling me that while I was freezing back home in Sweden, the temperatures climbed as high as 32 degrees above. This time last week I was driving a snow plough, because there was at least half a metre of snow everywhere, and it was twice as deep in places.
“Now all I want to do is drive a golf ball, and enjoy this great weather. While I was at home we went skiing and had snowball fights. I feel happy and refreshed after my break and I cannot wait to get started.”
Ozaki is a non-playing captain of the Asian team, which features teenage star Ryo Ishikawa, Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee and India’s Jeev Milkha Singh.
Today and tomorrow each feature four foursomes matches, with eight singles on Sunday.