Thongchai & Jimenez named as Captains

Mon 02 Dec 2013

Thongchai & Jimenez named as Captains

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Hong Kong, December 2: Thai golf superstar Thongchai Jaidee and Spanish icon Miguel Angel Jimenez have been selected as playing captains for Team Asia and Team Europe respectively for the inaugural EurAsia Cup presented by DRB-HICOM next year.
The hugely popular and successful duo will lead golfers from Asia and Europe in a battle for continental pride and honour over three days of Ryder Cup-styled matchplay golf at the Glenmarie Golf and Country Club in Kuala Lumpur from March 27 to 29, 2014.
Thongchai is a winner of an unprecedented three Asian Tour Order of Merit titles and has 16 professional victories to his name, including five wins on the European Tour and two Malaysian Open titles.
The 44-year-old is one of the most respected and popular players in the game. The former Thai paratrooper has enjoyed a stellar season this year, highlighted by runner-up finishes at the Volvo World Match Play Championship and BMW Masters which helped propel him to an impressive ninth place in the European Tour’s 2013 Race to Dubai. He is currently ranked ninth on the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit. The Thai number one’s experience across both Tours made him the natural choice for captain by the Asian Tour:
“I am honoured and delighted to be asked to captain Team Asia. Week in, week out, we compete as individuals, but the EurAsia Cup presented by DRB-HICOM gives us a different way to play the sport. I am a huge fan of the Ryder Cup, but being Asian, I will never get to play in it. The EurAsia Cup will offer the chance for the best Asian and European players to come together, and I am looking forward to leading a determined group that will do their very best for team honour and pride. It is sure to be a great battle and I’ll make sure the Asian team is as well prepared as they can be.”
Miguel Angel Jimenez and Thongchai Jaidee. Miguel Angel Jimenez and Thongchai Jaidee.
Team Europe will be led by Spanish star Jimenez.  Also known as The Mechanic due to his love of fast cars, Jimenez has played an astonishing 28 consecutive years on the European Tour, amassing 19 tournament wins along the way.
Famed for his love of cigars and good living, Jimenez brings huge experience of team golf. As a player, he has participated in four Ryder Cups, including victories in 2004 at The Belfry, and 2010 at Celtic Manor. At the prestigious competition in Medinah last year, he was Vice Captain for Europe, putting him in prime position to lead Team Europe in Malaysia come March.
The 49-year-old Malaga native is also no stranger to playing, and winning, in Asia. He has won six high profile tournaments in the region over his career, including his most recent win in 2012 at the Hong Kong Open, a title that also bestowed on him the honour of becoming the oldest ever winner on The European Tour. Jimenez is confident his past Ryder Cup experiences can help his team secure a win for Europe next March:
“The EurAsia Cup presented by DRB-HICOM is a very exciting event indeed and I can’t wait to get to Malaysia for the tournament. We have Europe playing the U.S. at the Ryder Cup, and it is great to now have a fully sanctioned, official competition for the Europeans to play against the best from Asia.  With so many world-class players now emerging from the Asian Tour, it is sure to be a close contest.”
Taking place at the Glenmarie Golf and Country Club in Malaysia, the new biennial team matchplay golf tournament is presented by DRB-HICOM, one of Malaysia’s largest conglomerates involved in the automotive; services; and property, asset and construction sectors.
Datuk Mohamed Razeek Md Hussain, Chief Operating Officer, Services and Properties, DRB-HICOM Berhad, believes the two captains will lead Asia and Europe with pride and determination to lift the first EurAsia Cup.
“What the EurAsia Cup stands for matches the core values of DRB-HICOM.  Teamwork and spirit, people of different backgrounds and cultures coming together to try and achieve something are what we strive to do every day. We look forward to working with the various partners to make this unique event a huge success. We are confident Thongchai Jaidee and Miguel Angel Jimenez will lead Team Asia and Team Europe proudly in the battle for continental supremacy.”
Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) Chairman Tun Ahmad Sarji, whose organisation is the local coordinator of the event, said: “The selection of Thongchai Jaidee and Miguel Angel Jimenez as captain for Team Asia and Team Europe respectively will intensify the battle for the inaugural EurAsia Cup. Both are highly respected players with a great amount of success and I am sure they will lead their teams proudly and effectively.”
Sanctioned by the Asian Tour and The European tour, The EurAsia Cup will pit 10 of the finest golfers from Asia against 10 stars of Europe over three days of exhilarating contest, which officials predict will herald the start of a new and exciting rivalry between the two powerhouse continents.
Thongchai’s Team Asia will include the leading four available Asian players from the final 2013 Asian Tour Order of Merit, the leading three available Asian players invited on the basis of their Official World Golf Ranking, the playing captain and two captain’s picks.
Europe, on the other hand, will select the leading four available players from the final 2013 Race to Dubai rankings, the leading four available players from the Official World Golf Ranking on Monday, February 3, 2014, the playing captain and one captain’s pick by Jimenez.
Asian Tour Chairman Kyi Hla Han said: “The gauntlet is well and truly laid down now that the two captains have been announced. Over the next couple of months, as the qualification deadline approaches, we will know the full list of players who will represent the two teams. The standard of Asian players has grown so much in the past few years that Thongchai can be assured of a world class team which is more than capable of winning the trophy. Thongchai will be a wonderful captain to lead the team due to his stature in Asian and world golf. He is very popular amongst golf fans in Asia and across the globe due to his stellar career and is also highly respected by his peers. He is the ideal captain for Team Asia.”
George O’Grady, Chief Executive of the European Tour, added: “We are delighted that Miguel has accepted our invitation to captain Team Europe. Given his experience and personality, he is well equipped to lead a group that will include Major Champions and multiple winners across the professional tours. I am pleased that the inaugural EurAsia Cup carries with it the support of Seve Ballesteros’ family and The Seve Ballesteros Foundation. We will be in close contact with the family in the coming months to identify ways in which these links can be more formally recognised.
“Our relations with players from Malaysia, China, India, Thailand, Korea and Japan have been important to us for many years. We see the development of The EurAsia Cup as a further commitment by us to assist in the development of golf throughout the region and to strengthening one of The European Tour’s most important partnerships.”
Seve’s son, Javier Ballesteros, commented: “As The European Tour continues to expand in Asia, it is only fitting that Seve’s name is now formally associated with his dream of a team match between two continents, Europe and Asia.”
The first day of the three day tournament will include five foursomes matches, followed by five fourball matches on day two and 10 singles matches on the final day at Glenmarie’s Garden course.
About DRB-HICOM Berhad
DRB-HICOM Berhad (“DRB-HICOM”) is one of Malaysia’s leading conglomerates with core businesses in the Automotive; Services; and Property, Asset & Construction sectors. With more than 80 active companies in its stable and over 52,000 employees group-wide, DRB-HICOM’s aim is to continue adding value and propelling the nation’s development. In the Automotive sector, DRB-HICOM is involved in the manufacturing, assembly and distribution of passenger and commercial vehicles, including the national motorcycle. In Services, DRB-HICOM is involved in various businesses, including concession and financial-related services. In Property, Asset & Construction, DRB-HICOM is involved in residential and commercial developments. Visit www.drb-hicom.com
About Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM)
Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) is a Company Limited by Guarantee, registered on 5th August 2010 in Malaysia. As a non-profit organisation, PGM’s objectives are to promote the sport of golf and to contribute towards its enjoyment and growth. To conduct and/or coordinate training on golf-related courses in order to enhance the playing capabilities and skills of professional golfers, as well as to promote and/or conduct a golf Tour or events as a means to hone their skills and to elevate the standards of the professional golfers in Malaysia. PGM provides a platform for Malaysia’s professional golfers to enable them to focus on playing while PGM shoulders the responsibility of arranging and financing these tournaments. To achieve these objectives, PGM organises a series of golf tournaments on an annual basis. For the year 2012, PGM hosted 20 tournaments offering RM3 million in prize money, seven of which were co-sanctioned with the Asian Development Tour. The schedule for 2013 features 22 tournaments offering prize money of over RM4 million, 10 of which are co-sanctioned with the Asian Development Tour and three with the ASEAN Tour. The expansion of the Tour on an annual basis and the increased prize money is an indicator of its vibrant growth year-on-year.
About the Asian Tour
In 2013, the Asian Tour will celebrate a momentous milestone with its 10th season. As the official sanctioning body for professional golf in Asia, the Asian Tour leads the development of golf across the region, enhancing the careers of its members while maintaining a commitment to the integrity of the game. The Asian Tour, through its membership of the International Federation of PGA Tours, is the only recognised pan-Asian professional golf tour in Asia. This unique feature positions the Asian Tour at the pinnacle of professional golf in Asia; providing its events with Official World Ranking status. Tour Partners include Abacus (Official Apparel Partner), Inetol Headwear (Official Headwear Supplier), Saxo Capital Markets (Official Statistics Partner), Singha Beer (Official Beer), Srixon (Official Ball), Subway (Official Quick Service Restaurant), Starwood Hotels and Resorts (Official Hotels and Resorts) and Rolex (Official Timekeeper). The Asian Tour has offices in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Also, visit us at www.asiantour.com, www.facebook.com/asiantourgolf, www.twitter.com/asiantourgolf, www.youtube.com/theasiantour and www.weibo.com/asiantourgolf
About The European Tour
The European Tour is committed to celebrating the game of golf from the origins of the professional game, building a proud history of achievement, sportsmanship and integrity as well as showcasing our diverse global talent and rich landscapes. The European Tour's innovative approach enables us to embrace the world, combining championships of tradition with new tournaments in the cities and countries of the future. The European Tour International Schedule, which from 2009 has incorporated The Race to Dubai, is a thriving global brand which, in 2013, will feature a minimum of 45 tournaments spread across all five continents of the world; the European Challenge Tour focuses on the up and coming players of the future; while the European Senior Tour provides a new start for champions celebrating their 50th birthday. The European Tour’s corporate identity features the iconic silhouette image of six-time Open Champion Harry Vardon who gives his name to The Harry Vardon Trophy, presented to the player who is crowned European Tour Number One and winner of The Race to Dubai at the end of the season.