The five-time major champion’s correspondence with the Asian Tour’s executive chairman, Kyi Hla Han, backs up his brother’s claim.
“The Royal Trophy is an event which has a very special place in my heart,” wrote Ballesteros. “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.
“It has taken a lot of time and a lot of hard work to create such a wonderful competition and 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.”
Last September, the European and Asian Tours announced the formation of the EurAsia Cup and from that moment an unseemly row was inevitable, especially when O’Grady announced “while we sanctioned the Royal Trophy for the first two editions, we had fundamental differences of policy with the promoters”.
There have long been differences between the Tour and the Ballesteros brothers concerning the Seve Trophy, the biennial match between Great Britain and Ireland and Continental Europe, which has not been a success.
José Maria Olazábal, Ballesteros’s best friend and Ryder Cup partner, said he wants the Royal Trophy to become a sanctioned Tour event and the EurAsia Cup scrapped and said other players agree. However, Miguel Angel Jimenez, his countryman and another friend of Balleteros, stepped up to be Europe’s playing-captain in Kuala Lumpur.
The Tour refused to comment in an official capacity on Tuesday, but here Thomas Bjorn, the chairman of the players committee, came to their defence and revealed the “impossible position” placed upon the Europe players, which, as well as Bjorn, will include Graeme McDowell and Victor Dubuisson.
“The last person’s legacy you’d want to step on is Seve’s, but just because he said it doesn’t make it right,” Bjorn said. “The tours had to sit down and say: is there value in this event? If they see there is, then it is the right thing to do.
“It’s a priority for us to build up a relationship with the Asian Tour. We’re already playing very much second fiddle to the PGA Tour and if we don’t grow the tour with Asia we’re going to struggle. We don’t need a battle of words between the tours and Seve’s family. There was a way of taking this forward together but it seems like that’s not going to happen.”
Meanwhile, England’s Justin Rose pulled out of the Honda Classic, which starts here on Thursday, because of tendinitis in his right shoulder. However, he expects to play at next week’s WGC Cadillac Championship.