Four Asians a boost for Presidents Cup

Asian Tour chief Kyi Hla Han has hailed the strong presence of four Asians in the International Team which will take on the United States in the Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne next month.

Korean stars KJ Choi and YE Yang, both Asian Tour honorary members, countryman and one-time Asian Tour winner Kim Kyung-tae and Japanese star Ryo Ishikawa earned automatic selection into captain Greg Norman’s squad by virtue of finishing in the top-10 of the team rankings, which is based on the Official World Golf Rankings.

Y.E. Yang Y.E. Yang (Credit: Anthony Powter)

This the first time four Asians have featured prominently on the International Team in the history of the Presidents Cup.

Han, the Tour’s executive chairman, said: “It is tremendous that the International Team this year will be well represented by Asian players, three of whom are products of the Asian Tour.

“It speaks well of the development of our players who come through the Asian Tour.

“We are delighted that Choi, Yang and Kim have made the grade into the Presidents Cup, along with Ishikawa.

“They will serve as further inspiration to our players and this bodes well for the game in Asia.

“With Asian Tour events gaining strong world ranking points, it will give our Tour members a chance to play their way into future International Teams.”

Choi was the first Asian Tour product to make it big on the PGA Tour where he is now an eight-time winner in the US.

This year, he won the prestigious Players Championship and qualified as the fourth-ranked player on the International rankings.

Choi was also delighted to see the strong Asian presence in Norman’s team.

He said: “I’m proud that there are so many Asian players on the team.

“It goes on to prove the increased level of talent in the Asian region and the bright future for Asian players.”

Yang made history for Asia when he became the first Asian male golfer to win a major in 2009 when he beat Tiger Woods at the PGA Championship while Kim, who enjoyed a stellar amateur career which saw him win the Asian Games gold medals for team and individual events in 2006, won on the Asian Tour in 2007 before enjoying more success in Japan.

The other members of the International Team are Australians Jason Day, Adam Scott and Geoff Ogilvy and South Africans Charl Schwartzel, Retief Goosen and Ernie Els.

Norman also selected countrymen Robert Allenby and Aaron Baddeley as his captain’s picks.