Aoki, Hsieh to lead teams for Japan-Asia showdown


TOKYO, AFP

Asian greats Isao Aoki and Hsieh Min-nan hae been named as the non playing captains for next year’s inaugural Dynasty Cup between Japan and the Rest of Asia. The Ryder Cup-style showdown is to be staged at the Blue Canyon Country Club on the Thai resort island of Phuket March 29-31 under the auspices of the Japan Golf Tour Organization (JGTO) and the Asian PGA, the two organisations announced Thursday. Aoki, the only Japanese men’s golfer to have won on both U.S. and European tours, and Taiwan’s Hsieh, the 1972 World Cup team and individual winner, are recognised as two of the greatest players to emerge from their countries. “I hope we can show an exciting competition like the Presidents Cup and the Ryder Cup. I really want to bring the Cup to Japan, because it will be the inaugural event,” said Aoki, 58. Hsieh, 60, added:”The important thing is the relationship between Japan and Asian countries. “I’ll do my best to make it as good as those of the United States and Europe. “I’ve been playing in Japan for since 33 years ago and Mr Aoki has been my friend for a great many years. I’d like to play a playoff with him when the two teams are tied,” added Hsieh. Aoki, the winner of the European Open and the Hawaiian Open in 1983, won a total of 74 career titles. He also came close to winning the 1980 U.S. Open but lost to Jack Nicklaus after a titanic battle at Baltusrol. Aoki still plays on the US Senior Tour where he holds eight titles. Hsieh is no stranger to success either. He has recorded 48 career victories around the region and won the Asian Tour Order of Merit title three times in 1971, 1975 and 1977. “When the establishment of the Dynasty Cup became a reality, Aoki’s name was the first to come to mind. We feel that he is the ideal choice to captain the Japan team in such a historic event,” said JGTO chairman Kosaku Shimada. “Players look up to him because of his many successes around the world and I’m confident he will spur our team to great heights in our quest to win the first Dynasty Cup. “Whatever the outcome, the inaugural event in 2002 will set the tone for more great clashes in the future.” Asian PGA Executive Director Ramlan Dato’ Harun said: “Hsieh is widely respected in the Asian golfing circle and we are truly honoured that he has accepted the invitation to skipper the Asian team.

“I’m confident that his knowledge, passion and desire will stoke the fire brightly amongst the Asian players. When Hsieh played for Taiwan in the World Cup, he displayed so much pride and honour in representing his country and I’m sure these vital elements will be on display again when he captains Asia.” Blue Canyon, built on an old tin mine and opened in 1991, hosted the Johnnie Walker Classics in 1994 and 1998 and is rated one of the region’s best courses. The Asian team will be made up of the top eight players on the tour rankings and four captain’s pick. Aoki will be able to name two of the Japanese team. Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee currently tops the Rest of Asia points race for selection.