Monty to captain Europe at Royal Trophy

BANGKOK – Colin Montgomerie will captain Europe’s team at next year’s Royal Trophy match play tournament against Asia after Seve Ballesteros ruled himself out over lingering health concerns.

“Seve has invited me to captain Europe at the Royal Trophy and I am delighted to accept,” Montgomerie said in a statement Thursday.

Ballesteros, who missed the 2009 event after undergoing surgery to treat a malignant brain tumor, had said he hoped to captain the team when it plays at the Amata Spring Country Club in Thailand from Jan. 8-10.

“It is best for the players to have complete certainty as to who will lead them in this great match against Asia, and while my recovery has been very good, I am not certain that I will be ready to give our team the 110 percent effort it deserves,” Ballesteros said in a statement. “The role of captain is complex, difficult and demanding and I sincerely thank Colin, my very good friend, for taking this major responsibility.”

Montgomerie, an eight-time European Tour Order of Merit winner and current European Ryder Cup captain, welcomed Ballesteros’ invitation and said it would be a great opportunity to work closely with some of the same players he will lead against the United States in October.

“I am really pleased to be representing Europe in Thailand and am determined to regain the Royal Trophy for Europe,” Montgomerie said. “I am looking forward to working with my counterpart, Asian Captain Joe Ozaki, and it would be wonderful to secure victory in what will be an important week for Seve.”

Asia won this year’s competition after losing to Europe in 2006 and 2007.

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