Published on January 1, 2008
The thirty-five tournament title winner has compiled his Asian Team in a manner which gives him a multitude of possible high-powered pairings.
Although a combination of Japan's No 1 player Toru Taniguchi with the charismatic Hideto Tanihara is expected, the legendary Ozaki may also give great consideration to matching up either one of his two Japanese players with Asian team newcomer Lee Dong-hwan of Korea, who plays full time in the Japan Tour and speaks Japanese fluently. The Korean ace won his first title in the Japan Tour in 2007 and is one of the promising Asian golfing talents.
A combination of former European Masters champion Jeev Milkha Singh with the extremely talented Shiv Kapur may also present the Champion's Tour player Ozaki with an irresistible option as the two Indians would, on paper, create a nearly-perfect match up of experience and youth as well as 'touch around the greens' and 'power off the tees'. Both Singh and Kapur have a history of playing well in Thailand, with Kapur having previously won the Masters of Asia in Bangkok.
The Thai trio of Thongchai Jaidee, Prayad Marksaeng and Chapchai Nirat will also present the Asian captain with some very interesting options. While a pairing of Thongchai Jaidee with Prayad Marksaeng is logical due to their experience in playing together in the past, including in the World Cup team tournament held in China less than two months ago, bringing together Thailand's No 1 player Thongchai Jaidee with red-hot Chapchai Nirat could also deliver a fantastic pairing for the Asian Team.
Both Thongchai Jaidee and Prayad Marksaeng are true veterans in Asian golf while the 'long-hitting' and 'ever-attacking' Chapchai Nirat is coming off his career breakthrough year in which he won two titles.
Another Asian veteran, Charlie Wi, adds great strength to the Ozaki Asian squad. The Korean, who is a former title winner in the European Tour, presently plays full-time in the US PGA Tour and could be a 'good match' with any of the Asian Team members.
"I am very confident . I have three Thai players who will have the advantage of playing at home and who are totally determined to win. I have two Japanese players who are playing well, Jeev Milkha Singh and Charlie Wi who add a lot of experience to the team and Lee Dong-hwan and Shiv Kapur who are both tournament title winners at a very young age," said the youngest member of the Ozaki dynasty.
"We will do our very best to keep the trophy in Asian soil. The Europeans are experienced and have the Ryder Cup experience to their benefit but we are ready for the challenge," Ozaki said.