The EurAsia Cup: Everything you need to knowJanuary, 2016
Darren Clarke will be hoping for a first European victory at golf's latest team event.
Next week, Darren Clarke’s Ryder Cup preparations step up a gear as he leads a team of hopefuls at the second EurAsia Cup.
The captain of Team Europe will take a team of 12 golfers to the Glenmarie Golf and Country Club in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with his players hoping to stake a claim for a Ryder Cup spot.
Awaiting them will be Jeev Milkha Singh’s Asian team, which staged a final-day comeback to tie the inaugural EurAsiaCup 10-10 in 2014.
Clarke will be hoping to gain valuable lessons
Here’s a run-down on golf’s newest continental team competition.
‘Jeev will be trying to kick my butt and I will be trying to kick his’
The EurAsia Cup presented by DRB-HICOM Berhad
The Garden course, Glenmarie Golf and County Club, Malaysia
Opened in 1994, the course at Glenmarie is floodlit, meaning play doesn’t need to be stopped due to poor light.
Notable holes include the 553-yard 5th, with its island green and the 445-yard 8th, rated the toughest on the card.
The floodlit Glenmarie Golf and Country Club
What is the format?
Adjustments have been made to the tournament, bringing it closer to the Ryder Cup. The team captains now assume non-playing roles, with each team represented by 12 players – two more than last time out.
There will be six matches in each of the Fourball and Foursomes sessions over the opening two days, which is an increase of one match per session.
Twelve singles matches will then be played on the final day.
The winning team will share prize money of US$3.6m, while the runners-up will share US$1.2m.
What happened last time?
The spoils were shared in the inaugural EurAsia Cup as Thongchai Jaidee’s Team Asia staged a final day comeback, recovering from a 7-3 deficit to tie the event 10-10.
That time around the captains also had playing roles, with European captain Miguel Angel Jimenez remaining unbeaten throughout the event.
However, a largely-unknown team of Asians players, which featured a pre-European Tour Anirban Lahiri, lost just two matches in the singles on the final day and the trophy was shared.
Jimenez and Jaidee shared the trophy in 2014
What are the teams?
With 14 Ryder Cup appearances between them, Clarke chose Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood as his two captain’s picks, suggesting the veterans will have some part to play at Hazeltine.
Four Englishmen automatically qualified and the rapidly-improving quartet of Matt Fitzpatrick, Andy Sullivan, Danny Willett and Chris Wood will all hope to impress.
Indian golfing legend Jeev Milkha Singh had the benefit of four captain’s picks as he selected his team. Rookie of the Year Ben An leads a list of players who have scored victories on the European Tour, including the captain from last time around, Thongchai Jaidee.
Ian Poulter; Lee Westwood; Andy Sullivan; Danny Willett; Matthew Fitzpatrick; Chris Wood; Shane Lowry; Victor Dubuisson; Ross Fisher; Bernd Wiesberger; Soren Kjeldsen; Kristoffer Broberg
Mr Ryder Cup, Ian Poulter, will hope to inspire the rookies
Byeong-hun An; Kiradech Aphibarnrat; Wu Ashun; S.S.P Chawrasia; Danny Chia; Nicholas Fung; Thongchai Jaidee; Shingo Katayama; K.T Kim; Anirban Lahiri; Prayad Marksaeng; Jeunghun Wang
Kiradech Aphibarnrat won the Saltire Energy Paul Laurie Match Play
What have the captains said?
Darren Clarke: “Both teams that are assembled will be desperate to win the EurAsia Cup for the first time – when we get to Kuala Lumpur Jeev will be trying to kick my butt and I will be trying to kick his. It’s going to be a great week – the guys are really looking forward to it already.”
Jeev Milkha Singh: “It’s an honour to be offered the EurAsia Cup captaincy and I am very excited by the prospect of leading what I hope will be a very strong Asian team. It is a special event – I remember watching it two years ago and it was so exciting. I’m looking forward to going up against Darren – I’m going to have a lot of fun with him.”
Singh and Clarke in 2008
What will it mean for the Ryder Cup?
Clarke is likely to treat the event as a dress rehearsal for Minnesota, so don’t be surprised if you see a number of pairings tried out and then repeated in September.
The potential Ryder Cup rookies will use the event as a settler, giving them an insight into what to expect from this format of team event.
They will also hope to gain inspiration from the class of 2014, which featured Jamie Donaldson, Victor Dubuisson and Stephen Gallacher who all competed in the EurAsia Cup and then went on to make their Ryder Cup debuts.
Clarke said: “Some of the guys I will know very well and some I won’t know so well in terms of their golf games. There might be some opportunities for me to see some potential Ryder Cup pairings and that is something that could be invaluable to me.”
Clarke is also Team Europe’s 2016 Ryder Cup captain