Jeev uncertain for Royal Trophy

Last Updated: Jan 05, 2011, 19:00 PM IST

Hua Hin: He might have landed here, but the injured Jeev Milkha Singh is still uncertain for the fifth edition of the Royal Trophy, a much-awaited golf clash between Asia and Europe, starting Friday at the
majestic Black Mountain Golf Club.

Jeev, a well-reputed match-play exponent, is a doubtful starter because of a back injury.

"I will give it a shot on the eve of the event," said Jeev, who is the only Indian in the field with Thailand`s Prayad Marksaeng on stand-by.

The competition is played in a Ryder Cup style featuring foursomes, fourballs and singles over three days.

Europe is being led by 47-year-old legendary golfer Colin Montgomerie, who guided the defending champions to an 8.5-7.5 win over Asia last year.

Montgomerie will be present in the role of captain and player. This time, however, Europe is hit by injuries, as both Edoardo Molinari of Italy and Denmark`s Thomas Bjorn have been ruled out.

But Mongomerie does have Swede Henrik Stenson who last year holed the winning putt in the final match against Thailand`s Thongchai Jaidee.

Peter Hanson, another Swede, is the only other member from the Ryder Cup winning European team.

Molinari, who would have been the top ranked player from either team in the tournament, and Bjorn have been replaced by in-form Spaniard Pablo Martin and Fredrik Andersson Hed of Sweden, respectively.

Sweden`s Johan Edfors, who owns property and practices regularly at Black Mountain, and Welshman Rhys Davies, complete the Europe line-up.

In spite of the Herculean task at hand, Asia captain Naomichi `Joe` Ozaki is confident that his team can pull it off this time.

Ozaki`s team for the first time looks stronger in the pre-event analyses as three of Asia`s players are in world top 50 and another four are in the top 100.

Asia`s top stars include Kim Kyung-tae of Korea, who won the Japan Tour last year, besides the Japanese superstar Ryo Ishikawa and Yuta Ikeda. They also have Asian Tour Order of merit winner, Noh Seung-yul of Korea, besides veteran Thongchai Jaidee, China`s Liang Wenchong and Japan`s Shunsuke Sonoda.

PTI