Luke Donald, the captain of the European Ryder Cup, is confident that a team tournament like this week’s Hero Cup will help his players, still stinging from the heavy loss to the United States in 2021.
A young American team, led by Steve Stricker, won by a resounding 19-9 margin at Whistling Straits for their third victory in the last 10 tournaments.
The United States will defend the title in Rome, Italy, from September 29 to October 1.
In response to a request from Ryder Cup players, the European Tour reintroduced a team play tournament to the calendar.
The tour has held the Seve Cup and the Royal Trophy in the past, but there has been no team event since the last of the three EurAsia Cups was held in Kuala Lumpur in 2018.
Tommy Fleetwood, who leads the 10-man Great Britain and Ireland team against Francesco Molinari’s continental European team at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, revealed that one of the first things the players decided to recommend to the DP World Tour on the flight of homecoming from Wisconsin, was to bring back a team championship.
“Yeah, we didn’t enjoy losing last year in Whistling and losing a lot. We know the USA is going to be very strong. They seem a little bit younger, they seem a little more unified. And they have the Cup presidents to work on associations and come together and foster that team atmosphere,” said the 45-year-old Englishman, who was named captain when Swede Henrik Stenson was stripped of responsibility after joining LIV Golf.
“We’ve lost that since the last EurAsia Cup. I think it’s vital to have that on the calendar. So the years that we’re not playing Ryder Cups, we can start to try some of this stuff and not go in, so raw.
“Given the team aspect and match play, a Hero Cup gives us an opportunity to get these guys into a team room. See how they perform in match play. This is a great first building block for, hopefully have a very successful team in the Ryder Cup.” the long-term”.
With the Ryder Cup scheduled almost eight months later, Donald insisted that he and his three announced vice-captains (Thomas Bjorn, Edoardo Molinari and Nicolas Colsaerts) look for character rather than form or scoring ability.
“There are certain things that, when we do them right, we are very successful. When you have 18 holes, you have to start fast. So we are looking for someone who will not just relax.” in the round, but he is ready on the first tee. I think that’s important,” Donald said.
“I like to see people who have a lot of grit and determination. They may look like they’re out of the hole, but they move the ball up and down. They make putts that are longer than someone else waiting for a birdie putt.” , that kind of things.
“Obviously a big thing is just testing our partnerships with four to see how the guys react together. How they walk the streets. Also look at how they blend into a team environment and how their games complement each other. We’ve already started. learn a lot from what we’ve been doing off the golf course, and we’ll learn even more when the gun is fired.”
The three-day tournament begins on Friday with a foursome session. This will be followed by two fourball sessions on Saturday and 10 individual matches on Sunday.