Royal Trophy 'postponed' just days before tee off

The Royal Trophy golf team event that pits Europe against Asia has been "postponed", organisers say, just days ahead of the scheduled tee off in China (AFP Photo/Johannes Eisele)

The Royal Trophy golf team event which pits Europe against Asia has been "postponed", organisers told AFP on Tuesday, just days ahead of the scheduled tee off in China.

Played in a similar matchplay format to the Ryder Cup, the Royal Trophy was founded by the late Seve Ballesteros, whose vision was to bring together the continents of Europe and Asia in a team matchplay contest.

The eighth edition of the event -- which is sanctioned by the Japan Golf Tour Organisation and the China Golf Association and supported by the OneAsia Tour -- was originally scheduled to be held at China’s Dragon Lake Golf Club in the southern province of Guangzhou from Friday to Sunday.

But organisers told AFP: "We have postponed the Royal Trophy and we have no more information."

The venue also said it had no plans to stage the event.

The status of the Royal Trophy was challenged earlier this year by the inaugural EurAsia Cup, which took place in Malaysia in March with backing from the European and Asian Tours.

Ivan Ballesteros, co-managing director of the Royal Trophy and nephew of Spanish great Seve, was scathing about the new tournament, saying on the first day of play that "today is a very sad day for golf".

Ballesteros also accused the two major regional tours of opportunism, calling the launch of the EurAsia Cup "an act of aggression".

Organisers of the Royal Trophy had announced in June that Asia’s first major winner, South Korea's Y.E. Yang, would captain the Asian team for the second year in succession.

"This is a very special and important competition," Yang said at the time, in material provided by the organisers.

Last year's Royal Trophy saw Ryder Cup-winning captain Jose Maria Olazabal mastermind a European fightback which saw his team snatch an unlikely 8.5-7.5 victory.

At the EurAsia Cup, captain Thongchai Jaidee's Team Asia pulled off a stirring comeback in the final round to secure a draw and a share of the trophy with the Miguel Angel Jimenez-led Europe.