Jose Maria Olazabal has been named as the new captain of the Europe side competing in the Royal Trophy, replacing compatriot Seve Ballesteros.

The event, which sees a European team take on an Asian side in a Ryder Cup-style contest, has been won by the Europeans on the two previous occasions.

Ballesteros, who has been captain of the team from the event’s inauguration, is still recovering from a series of brain surgeries which has kept him in hospital for a number of weeks.

Although the Spaniard is recovering well, he does not expect to improve in time for the three-day match starting on the 9th January.

Olazabal, who was assistant to Nick Faldo in the Ryder Cup this year, is up for the challenge of taking the team to victory, “I am truly honoured to have been appointed by Seve to take such an important responsibility and I will do my best to deliver a win for my great friend and for Europe,” said Olazabal.

“I plan to stay in contact with Seve throughout the process and to work with him as a partner, just like we did in the golf course for so many years in the Ryder Cup.”

The Royal Trophy, now in it’s third year, will take place at Bangkok’s Amata Spring Country Club. The 2008 event was postponed due to a 100-day period of mourning for the sister of the King of Thailand who died of cancer in early January.

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