The Joy of Golf: EurAsia Cup looks better than fading Royal Trophy

Joy Chakravarty 17:14 27/03/2014
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Boys in blue: The European team line up ahead of this weekend’s EurAsia Cup in Kuala Lumpur.

The EurAsia Cup this week marks a new chapter in the history of team events, with Europe locking horns with Asia at Glenmarie Golf & Country Club in Kuala Lumpur.

There has been a lot of controversy surrounding the tournament in the build-up stage, especially with there being a pre-existing team tournament between the two continents.

The Royal Trophy has been played since 2006, and it had the seal of approval of the legendary Seve Ballesteros. However, according to the informed grapevine, both the European Tour and the Asian Tour felt they were not getting enough out of the event commercially.

The success of the Ryder Cup, and the growth of golf in Asia means there is a lot of potential in an event of this nature. On the other hand, the Royal Trophy, the rights of which are with an independent company – Entertainment Group (Asia) Limited – wasn’t really going anywhere after a couple of great opening years.

Talks of an EurAsia Cup have been going on for some years now, and the Royal Trophy organisers produced a letter written by Seve a year before he died, in which he urged Asian Tour chief Kyi Hla Han not to consider such a rival event.

Seve wrote: “I was very disappointed to hear the news as I could not have imagined the tours would be planning to take advantage of all the goodwill and value we have created in the Royal Trophy, copy it and take it as their own. This would certainly not meet the standards of morality and fairness which are the trademark of our sport.”

Perhaps Seve’s wish was disrespected, but I do feel the two Tours have put together a much better effort than what Royal Trophy was able to in these last few years.

There is a lot of marketing effort and money being put in, and if they carry on in the same vein, we can surely get another great team event like the Ryder Cup and the Presidents Cup.

Na receives some support
Kevin Na has been taking quite a bit of flak on slow play ever since his now famous incident in the 2012 Players Championship, where he was just unable to pull the trigger in his golf swing.

The Korean-American has become a target for officials and fans ever since – and some players think it is unfair because Na has improved a lot with his pace of play. And then, when he was put on the clock the week before while leading the Valspar Championship, things started getting bad again.

During the second round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Na was heckled by fans to such an extent that he had to be provided with extra security.

So, when Na noticed two fans wearing T-shirts saying something about him during the third round, he was naturally suspicious at first. On closer look, the T-shirt read: “Kevin Na – Worth the Wait”.

Na burst out laughing when he read the message, and after finishing the hole, went to the crowd and hugged the two fans. He said: “It was cool. I walked up to the green and I kind of peeked over, looked over there at what it said and I just started laughing. It was really nice. It was nice to get some support.”

Poulter in the firing line
Ian Poulter is known to get into Twitter wars, and it was the same old story, but with a twist, at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

With last week’s tournament being played in Orlando, Poulter was driving to the golf course from home, and it was a great way to show off his enviable collection of majestic Ferraris.

On the second day, Poulter parked his red Ferrari in the space reserved for fire engines, and that prompted Brandt Snedeker to tweet this along with a picture: “Almost pulled the fire alarm”.

Poulter replied: “Why? Was your putter red hot again today?”

Davis Love III also got into the act. He posted a picture of himself against Poulter’s Ferrari the next day (this time it was a steel grey one), posing as if he was letting the air out of the tyres, and tweeted: “I will pay you back for those putts at Medinah!”

Poulter’s reply? “Easy to let air out of my tires, Easier to hole those putts.”

Stat of the Week
127 – three-putts made by Matt Kuchar since 2010, a period during which he played 6,732 holes. That’s an average of one three-putt every 53 holes.

This season, Kuchar leads the three-putt avoidance category on the PGA Tour, making only five three-putts in 396 holes played.

Quote of the Week
“When I was a young man, lifting weights wasn’t as popular as it’s becoming now. I pushed a lawn mower, and it didn’t have a motor on it. And that was one way to get pretty doggone strong. Or, I drove a tractor that was so tough to drive I had to stand up to turn the wheels. Well, that’s like lifting weights.” – Arnold Palmer, when asked if he used to lift weights like present-day golfers do.

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