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'Royal' row overshadows new team event

Her Majesty The Raja Agong Tuanku Hajah Haminah The Queen of Malaysia watches her shot on the second hole during the pro-am event for the inaugural EurAsia Cup which is being played over the Glenmarie Golf & Country Club course in Kuala Lumpur this weekend.

Her Majesty The Raja Agong Tuanku Hajah Haminah The Queen of Malaysia watches her shot on the second hole
Her Majesty The Raja Agong Tuanku Hajah Haminah The Queen of Malaysia watches her shot on the second hole

The queen was accompanied by Miguel Angel Jimenez, captain of the European side, who are odds-on favourites to beat Thongchai Jaidee's Asian team over the three days of competition.

"We had a good game today," said the Spaniard. "Her Majesty plays every day so we had a fun round, she was very welcoming and I was able to make final preparations on my game."

The contest, however, has been overshadowed by a bitter dispute involving the family of the late Seve Ballesteros and the European and Asian Tours.

The row developed because the EurAsia Cup effectively usurps the Royal Trophy, a team contest between Asia and Europe played since 2006 that was Ballesteros' brainchild and run by his company. The Royal Trophy was initially approved by the European Tour but business relations between the Tour and Ballesteros' family firm, Amen Corner, have since deteriorated.

Graeme McDowell, who goes out in the final pairing today, is upbeat despite the row. "The European team is strong and the Asian team on paper does not look as good but they have the advantage out here with the climate and the course set-up. I think it's going to be a really good weekend. The big key is keeping the ball on the fairway; the Bermuda rough is very jumpy into firm and fast greens."

Pairings P Larrazabal (Spa) & M A Jimenez (Spa) v T Jaidee (Tha) & K Aphibarnrat(Tha), T Bjorn (Den) & T Olesen (Den) v H Tanihara & K Oda (Jpn), V Dubuisson (Fra) & J Luiten (Ned) v S Rahman (Ban) & P Marksaeng (Tha), S Gallacher (Sco) & G Fdez-Castano (Spa) v G Bhullar (Ind) & A Lahiri (Ind), G McDowell (NIrl) & J Donaldson (Wal) v N Fung (MAl) & H Kim (Tha)

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