An innovative new event, the Amata Friendship Cup presented by Toyota, will see a team of Thailand’s top men and women professional and amateur golfers take on an equal team of Japan’s top players. The tournament will be hosted at Amata Spring Country Club in Chonburi, from December 21-23.
Team captains Boonchu Ruangkit and Virada Nirapathpongporn from Thailand, and Naomichi “Joe” Ozaki and Miho Koga from Japan will be responsible for team selection, managing pairings and representing the best interests of their respective nations.
“We have some of the most exciting players on all tours around the world right now and to bring them together as one team will be something every golf and sports fan in Thailand and Japan will love seeing,” commented Nirapathpongporn.
The Thailand captains’ first picks were unveiled at a press conference last month and included Kiradech Aphibarnrat, world #33, who took the time from his busy schedule to attend in person, Thongchai Jaidee, women’s LPGA world #2, Ariya Jutanugarn and her sister, world #12 Moriya, recent runner-up at the Ricoh Women’s British Open, Pornanong Phatlum and amateur sensation Atthaya Thitikul.
Ozaki and Koya unveiled a powerful team including world number 40, Satoshi Kodaira, along with Japan’s top female and world number 15 player Nasa Hataoka. They will be joined by the current number 1 and 3 players on the Japan Tour, in Ryuko Tokimatsu and Kodai Ichihara and PGA and European Tour regular Hideto Tanihara.
“We are ready for this exciting challenge and will be doing all we can to ensure we do our country proud and put up a strong performance,” commented Joe Ozaki, the 32-time winner on the Japan Golf Tour.
The event format will follow that of the Ryder Cup and Solheim Cup; a 3-day competition comprising of team-based and individual sessions, with each team amassing points based on the outcome of each match.
A dedicated website (www.amatafriendshipcup.com) will provide the general public with further details of the event, as well as insights on the competitors, ticketing and the schedule of events.