Montgomerie lobbying to gain status for Royal Trophy

Royal Trophy's Asia team captain Naomichi "Joe" Ozaki of Japan poses with European team captain Colin Montgomerie of Scotland ahead of the 2011 Ryder Cup-style match play event in Thailand. Europe won 9-7.

Royal Trophy's Asia team captain Naomichi "Joe" Ozaki of Japan poses with European team captain Colin Montgomerie of Scotland ahead of the 2011 Ryder Cup-style match play event in Thailand. Europe won 9-7.

Colin Montgomerie has pledged to gain the Royal Trophy official European Tour status.

Montgomerie described Sunday’s come-from-behind 9-7 victory at Black Mountain Golf Club that enabled Europe to retain the title as “one of the most remarkable days” of his career.

Yet despite establishing itself as one of the premier events on the Asian golfing calendar, the match-play tournament – which pits top players from Asia and Europe – has only been sanctioned by the Japan Golf Tour Organization.

Montgomerie, who also led Europe to victory in last year’s Ryder Cup and is influential figure in European golf, said the Royal Trophy deserves full support from the European Tour.

“I will be speaking to chief executive George O’Grady about the European Tour sanctioning this event. I do not know the politics of it, but we will get this tournament sanctioned by the European Tour,” Montgomerie said.

“It is only right that it should be – the eight players on the team are under their wing. . . The Royal Trophy has the potential to grow into a really, really big event.”

Although the European Tour and Asian Tour sanctioned the Royal Trophy in its early years, they declined to back it in 2010 and 2011, prompting suspicions that the two tours are planning to launch their own Ryder Cup-style team event between the two continents. Such a move would give them ownership of the potentially lucrative commercial and television rights.

Launched in 2005, the Royal Trophy was the brainchild of five-time major champion Seve Ballesteros and is promoted by the Entertainment Group Limited.

Despite the European Tour’s snub, the Royal Trophy recently gained further credibility with the announcement of the formation of the Royal Trophy Players’ Committee, comprising Nick Faldo, Ian Woosnam, Jose-Maria Olazabal and Paul McGinley, all of whom have played in the event.

The chairman of the JGTO also supports Royal Trophy’s mission.

Tadashi Koizumi, said: “The Royal Trophy has become a very important tournament for the Japan Golf Tour Organization. The championship is extremely well supported by our members and is an event which our very best players take great pride in qualifying for and competing in annually. It has become a magnificent start of the year for our Japan Tour professional golfers.”

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