European and Asian team players pose soon after a news conference for the 2013 Royal Trophy - Europe vs Asia Championship at Dragon Lake Golf Club in Guangzhou, China, on Wednesday. It will be held from Friday to Sunday. Ahn Hoon / The Korea Herald
GUANGZHOU, China ― During the presentation of the European and Asian teams on Wednesday, Asia Team captain Yang Yong-eun revealed he will not be playing this time around at the Seventh Edition of the Royal Trophy at China’s Dragon Lake Golf Club.
Yang said the Royal Trophy’s massive impact in raising the standard of golf throughout Asia meant he had to leave himself off the team as a player for this week’s event.
Yang, Asia’s first majors champion, was due to appear in the seventh edition of the Royal Trophy as a playing captain after his huge contribution to the team’s sensational triumph last year. Yang rounded off the week by partnering with fellow South Korean Kim Kyoung-tae to victory in a dramatic play―off, which resulted from an 8―8 tie, sparking thunderous scenes of celebration around the 18th green.
“I was a player in the past and now, as a captain, it is such a great honor. I am certain this tournament will be an event for the fans,” he said during the presentation of the nine European and 10 Asian team members just ahead of the competition’s tee off on Dec. 20.
Yang went through the list of players who were pushing for places on his team, and decided there were far too many candidates with irresistible claims to keep a place open for himself. “We have one of the best teams we have ever formed out of the previous six editions. So much so, that I really could not play this time around,” he said during the presentation of the two opposing teams. When I was first offered the Royal Trophy captaincy, the idea was that I would also play in the competition as well,” Yang said in an earlier interview. “But I quickly realized that there so many players who were playing better than me that I had to give up my spot on the team. I could not be greedy about it.”
Yang soon put aside any personal disappointment at not being a playing member of the Asian Team, recognizing he has a most vital role to play in orchestrating their bid to retain the Royal Trophy.
By Philip Iglauer, Korea Herald correspondent