YE Yang explains decision to drop himself from Asian team for Royal Trophy
Last Updated: 20/12/13 8:57am
YE Yang: Vital role as a non-playing captain
Asia captain YE Yang has defended his decision to leave himself out of his team for this week's Royal Trophy against Europe.
The South Korean was Asia's hero last year, partnering compatriot KT Kim to victory in a tense play-off after the teams had finished level at 8-8.
The former PGA champion was set to be a playing captain this year, but he believes his form over the past 12 months has not been good enough to justify a place ahead of plenty of in-form Asian players.
"When I was first offered the Royal Trophy captaincy the idea was that I would also play in the competition as well," said Yang, who remains the only Asian golfer to lift a major title.
"I wanted to play. But I quickly realised that there so many players who were playing better than me that I had to give up my spot on the team. I could not be greedy about it.
"It was not an easy decision to take, but I suppose the positive side of it is that it underlines that Asian golf is getting stronger and stronger all the time. And the Royal Trophy deserves a huge amount of credit for that.
"The Royal Trophy's influence can be seen in the way Asian players perform with greater confidence on the world stage, something that is definitely reflected in their results.
"It has given us an added focus as well as exposing out players to white-hot competition against some of the best golfers in the game. That is why the competition should be revered and respected by everyone.
"I would even go so far as to say the Asian victory last year was in some ways just as important as me becoming the first Asian golfer to win a Major title at the 2009 PGA Championship.
"I think both wins were very significant for Asian golf, and in their different ways they were equally important.
"One proved that Asian golfers could stand shoulder to shoulder with the best golfers in the world and win major championships. For me to go head to head with Tiger Woods in the final round and come out on top sent a very positive to every golfer on our continent.
"And last year's Royal Trophy victory showed that as a team, we in Asia could prevail under the most intense pressure. We emerged triumphant when the situation was incredibly tense, and incredibly tight."
Yang is now intent on relaying his experience of match play to the younger members of his team as he bids to deny European captain Jose Maria Olazabal his first victory in the event.
Yang added: "I have a lot of experience of match play, and I felt it would be best to concentrate on trying to use that experience to guide them and to try to help the players repeat the success of last year.
"I thought it would be a good experience for me to move up the ladder and just do the captaincy. I want to bestow some of my knowledge on the younger players in the team.
"There is also a big difference between stroke and a team match play event. In stoke play you need to play the course and the elements, and you need to be very strategic in how you control your game throughout the whole 18 holes."
Coverage of the seventh Royal Trophy starts at 6am on Sky Sports 4