SINGAPORE: Royal Trophy organisers have again accused European Tour chief George O’Grady of calling the new EurAsia Cup a “mistake”, escalating hostilities between the rival team tournaments.
O’Grady has already denied branding the EurAsia Cup, which is backed by his organisation, a “mistake” and “not sustainable” during talks with the Royal Trophy’s Ivan Ballesteros.
But co-managing director Ivan, whose late uncle, Spanish great Seve, was a driving force behind the Royal Trophy, stood by his version of events.
The EurAsia Cup, which will debut next month in Malaysia, is a Ryder Cup-style Europe vs Asia matchplay event just like the Royal Trophy, which started in 2006.
“The European Tour issued a statement to the media (on Feb 4) in which they said that George O’Grady ‘totally refuted, in the strongest possible terms, words attributed to him’ by me,” Ivan said in a statement.
“O’Grady also said that he ‘categorically refutes the comments ... that the EurAsia Cup is a ‘mistake’ and ‘not sustainable’.
“Everything I have said is accurate and true ... I am prepared to address any questions from anybody. Our position is extremely clear.”
When asked about Ivan’s latest comments, a European Tour spokesman said the body had “no further comment to make and nothing to add to our statement of Feb 4”.
The Royal Trophy and the EurAsia Cup are supported respectively by OneAsia and the Asian Tour, the region’s rival golf circuits who have long been at loggerheads.
Royal Trophy organisers are incensed about the EurAsia Cup and their anger increased when O’Grady, in comments released by the European Tour, said Seve would have welcomed the new tournament.
O’Grady has since distanced himself from those remarks and apologised. Seve died of brain cancer in 2011.
“I spoke with George O’Grady two weeks ago. He apologised to me for the comments they made about Seve and what he would have thought of the proposed EurAsia Cup,” Ivan said.
He added: “The European Tour and Asian Tour know that Seve was passionately against the creation of this event, which copies the Royal Trophy.
“The fact that they are still planning to hold this tournament shows a lack of respect and consideration for Seve.
“It is very unfortunate that they would do this to someone that has done so much for European and world golf – especially when he is not among us any more. If Seve was here, this would not be happening.” — AFP