Ozaki returns to lead Asia in Royal Trophy

Updated: Dec 20, 2011, 12:34 PM IST

Tokyo: Naomichi `Joe` Ozaki will continue as captain of Asia in golf`s Royal Trophy match play event against Europe, organisers said on Tuesday.

It will be the fifth consecutive edition the 55-year-old Japanese golfer has led the team after his compatriot Masahiro Kuramoto took charge for the inaugural event in 2006. His and Asia`s sole success came in 2009.

Organisers said the 2012 event will take place in Brunei from December 14-16 and will be played in honour of Spain`s Seve Ballesteros, Europe`s captain for the first two years, who died in May after a lengthy battle against cancer.

"I am certain that the eight members of the Asian Team will play their hearts out in honour of Seve`s career and life," Ozaki said in a statement.

"I have great memories of Seve during my years playing full-time internationally, of the times he played in our tour in Japan and of captaining against him at the Royal Trophy in 2007."

Ballesteros` former Ryder Cup team mate Jose Maria Olazabal will lead the European team, taking over the captaincy from Scot Colin Montgomerie, who oversaw a 9-7 victory earlier this year.

Olazabal has already named Montgomerie as the first selection in his team.

Bureau Report