Team Europe Captain Thomas Bjørn believes the third edition of the EurAsia Cup presented by DRB-HICOM, will be the most competitive edition of the biennial event given the strength of the Asian Team assembled by Captain Arjun Atwal.
The team match play event, which inaugurated in 2014, will once again be held at the Glenmarie Golf and Country Club in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and Bjørn is delighted with the depth of talent throughout his European squad.
The Dane has six former Ryder Cup players at his disposal as he captains Team Europe who are looking to defend the title they comprehensively won 18 ½ to 5 ½ in 2016, while three-time European Tour winner Atwal will bring together Team Asia, which consists of players from the European Tour, PGA Tour, Asia Tour and Japanese Tour.
Both teams played out a 10-10 tie during the first edition of the competition in 2014 before Team Europe ran out convincing winners two years ago.
All 12 members of Team Europe have won on the European Tour and leading the ten automatic qualifiers from the 2017 Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex is Tommy Fleetwood, along with his fellow Englishmen Tyrrell Hatton, Ross Fisher and Matthew Fitzpatrick, Spain’s Rafa Cabrera-Bello, Austria’s Bernd Wiesberger, Ireland’s Paul Dunne, Belgium’s Thomas Pieters, and the Swedish duo of Alex Noren and Henrik Stenson.
Completing the European Team are the two wildcard selections named by Captain Bjørn, Englishman Paul Casey and Alex Levy of France.
Quotes – Thomas Bjørn:
“It is an event that is growing. We come here with a good team and I’m excited to stand at the head of that team. As an individual golfer, you’re out there representing yourself all the time, and sometimes you lose track of that a little bit; you represent so much more than yourself. This week, these players represent themselves, but they also represent Europe and the European Tour, and they represent their own countries.
“To get a group of people together like that, you feel very quickly when you walk into a team room that there’s a different vibe about it, there’s a different feel about it. They are very excited about being in each other’s company but also looking very much forward to Friday.
“We’re very well aware that Asia has never fielded a stronger team than they do this time and golf is a strange game. Whatever it says on paper very rarely comes out on top. So, those 12 players in that room are very aware that they have got to go out and play golf this week. This is not going to come to them easy, and they are up for it.
“I think the commitment from the players early on, wanting to play in this event, shows where European golf is – there’s an excitement about representing Europe – that’s something that says a lot about those 12 players in there. They want to win. I feel like when I look at them, that they have seen a lot of things happen and they know, in the game of golf, over 18 holes, anything can happen.
“Personal relationships and what you are as people probably play a bigger role when you start looking at pairings than the stats do, but it’s a combination of all different factors that makes a great pairing. I don’t look at it and say, this is the only thing I look at because then I don’t feel like I’m doing my job properly. I need to look at all the factors that play in.”