My initial reaction upon reading about the EurAsia Cup kicking off this week was utter confusion. Didn’t they literally just contest this thing? I felt like a peyote-fueled Hansel in Zoolander trying to discern if the taped, late-night coverage I watched a few months back actually happened; if the hilariously low-budget Twitter account I fell in love with actually existed; and if those greens they played on were really as burnt-out as I fondly remember. We even ripped off the following tweet in the aftermath of Europe’s stunning 8.5 to 7.5 comeback victory:
The Euro comeback to win the Royal Trophy was the stuff of legend. Far surpasses ’99 Ryder Cup. Entire Asian continent must be DEVASTATED.
— No Laying Up (@NoLayingUp) December 22, 2013
What the hell is going on!?
As it turns out, all that incredible stuff did happen–The Royal Trophy is real. And so is the mind-boggling fact that just three months later there is another Europe v. Asia team competition happening–the EurAsia Cup. What’s the difference between the EurAsia Cup and Royal Trophy? Actually quite a lot, including a juicy power battle. We break it down for you below.
Advantage: Royal Trophy. Regal and prestigious. Dress for the international team competition you want to be, not the one you are.
Advantage: EurAsia Cup. Nice use of the golf ball as a globe. Points subtracted for the corporate presence though. The Royal Trophy looks generic enough to have been a part of any late-90’s golf video game.
History, Location & Timing
Royal Trophy: annual competition contested exclusively in Asia. This past year marked the seventh edition of the event. It’s played in late December. Not prime.
EurAsia Cup: biennial competition which will rotate between European and Asian locations. This is the inaugural event. Although this is a Ryder Cup year, the vision is that it will eventually become the answer to the United States’ President’s Cup event, keeping the March slot to allow Asian players to compete in both events.
Advantage: EurAsia Cup. Biennial is the way to go here, and rotating the locations between Europe and Asia makes the most sense to really cultivate interest and rivalry. Royal Trophy has the historical head-start, but if nobody really knows it’s existed, then has it?
Royal Trophy: Jose Maria Olazabal, Europe. Y.E. Yang, Asia.
EurAsia Cup: Miguel Angel Jimenez, Europe. Thongchai Jaidee, Asia.
Advantage: Royal Trophy. This was tight. Jose Maria has the green jackets, the innate Spanish cool, and exudes class. Miguel has next-level cool, similar class, an amazing Spafro, but no green jackets. Push. Y.E. was a power-lifter who came from behind to rip a major from Big Cat. Thongchai is best known for being out of his depth in WGC events. Y.E. by a wide margin.
Royal Trophy: It’s the brainchild and legacy of the late, great Seve Ballesteros. It’s run by his family’s company, Amen Corner, and they’re pissed about the posturing of the European and Asian Tours to fully own and exploit an Asian/European team competition. As Iain Carter writes in his BBC Sport Golf article on the EurAsia Cup, Seve wrote the following shortly before his death in 2011 concerning the prospects of another event rivaling the Royal Trophy:
“The Royal Trophy is an event which has a very special place in my heart. It is a legacy of mine that I passionately desire to leave for future generations. We have been informed by the European Tour that the Asian Tour is interested in developing an event in this very same format. I sincerely hope that the news I have received is a misunderstanding and that the Asian Tour will be willing to join us in the Royal Trophy on mutually acceptable terms but will not be intending to copy it. This would certainly not meet the standards of morality and fairness which are the trademark of our sport.”
EurAsia Cup: Uhhhhh, hope you can sleep at night, Euro and Asian Tour Suits. Damn! As mentioned, the EurAsia Cup is a wholly transparent play by the European and Asian Tours to take over the ripe Asian/European team competition space and fully own and operate the event.
Advantage: Sentimentally, Royal Trophy. We’ll roll with Seve here. Period. But business-wise, it’s an early-round knockout by the Suits. They’ve picked their spot and struck with precision. The ref’s gonna need to get in and stop this thing soon.
No doubt the EurAsia Cup is going to win out in this power struggle. It has the resources, will and might of the European and Asian Tours behind it. It has the better format and a better logo. It’s a clean, crisp operation with enough corporate backing to succeed. Not sure what will become of the Royal Trophy (or their Twitter account), and really, that’s a shame. Ideally, I’d like to see the powers-that-be within the Euro and Asian Tours come together with Seve’s family and Amen Corner to build-up and celebrate this important legacy of his. But it appears that won’t be the case. As Graeme McDowell wrote for BBC recently, there appears room enough for only one of these events.
It’s going to be the EurAsia Cup.