Royal Trophy team captains enjoy being ‘kings’ for a day

By Korea Herald
  • Published : Dec 19, 2013 - 19:11
  • Updated : Dec 21, 2013 - 15:59

Asian team captain Yang Yong-eun (right) and his European counterpart Jose Maria Olazabal fire ceremonial shots to open the 2013 Royal Trophy - Europe vs Asia Championship at Dragon Lake Golf Club in Guangzhou, China, on Thursday. Ahn Hoon / The Korea Herald

GUANGZHOU, China ― Double Masters champion Jose Maria Olazabal has played hundreds of different golf courses around the world, but he said the newly opened King Course at Dragon Lake Golf Club is “truly unique.”

Europe’s Royal Trophy Captain was partnered with his Asian counterpart, Asia team captain Yang Yong-eun, in a practice round earlier, becoming the first professionals to sample the spectacular layout which winds through the mountain range overlooking Dragon Lake in Guangzhou. And Olazabal admitted that the course took his breath away.

“I have to say it is a course that demands a good head for heights, and it is not for the fainthearted because the elevations on some holes are quite incredible,” Yang said. “The reward is that the scenery around the course is pretty breathtaking, and it is a very good test of golf as well because if you don’t hit the fairways you are not going to score well around here.”

Yang, the Asian continent’s first Major champion when he captured the PGA Championship title in 2009, said he, too, had never seen a course like it before.

“Some of the changes in elevation from tee to fairway are actually mind-boggling. On some of the holes we played, the drop was more than a hundred yards,” Yang said. “But once you come to terms with how different it is, there is a lot of fun to be had in trying to meet the challenge. It is a very dramatic course and some of the views are just wonderful.”

By Philip Iglauer, Korea Herald correspondent