Hero Cup set to begin in Abu Dhabi

fleetwood and molinari

The inaugural Hero Cup is set to begin in Abu Dhabi on Friday as a team of golfers from Great Britain and Ireland take on a team from continental Europe. The event is being used to give European golfers a taste of what to expect ahead of the Ryder Cup later this year. 

All of the players competing are members of the DP World Tour with ten golfers participating for each team. All 20 golfers have been selected by Europe’s Ryder Cup captain, Luke Donald, who will be on hand over the weekend to help out both teams. 

Although this is the first edition of the tournament, it does replicate the Seve trophy which was played eight times between 2000 and 2013. Team Great Britain and Ireland came out on top six times in that particular competition, suggesting they are the favourites going into the Hero Cup. 

Team Great Britain and Ireland are set to be captained by Tommy Fleetwood. The rest of the team is comprised of the following golfers: Ewen Ferguson, Tyrrell Hatton, Shane Lowry, Robert Macintyre, Seamus Power, Callum Shinkwin, Jordan Smith, Matt Wallace and Richard Mansell. 

Meanwhile, Team Continental Europe are going to be captained by Francesco Molinari. The rest of the team is as follows: Thomas Detry, Nicolai Hojgaard, Adrian Meronk, Guido Migliozzi, Alex Noren, Victor Perez, Thomas Pieters, Sepp Straka and Antoine Rozner. 

A tournament supported by Donald

Upon being announced as Team Europe’s Ryder Cup captain, after Henrik Stenson joined LIV Golf, Luke Donald was quick to ensure a tournament such as this one was created. Donald had an incredible Ryder Cup record as a player and was on the winning side in each of his four appearances between 2004 and 2012. 

luke donald

With the competition set to take place in Rome in September, Donald believes that the Hero Cup can provide many European golfers with invaluable experience. At the launch of the Hero Cup, he said:

“One of the first things I was keen to do when I was appointed as Ryder Cup captain was to reinstate a team match play contest to give playing and leadership experience to future Ryder Cup players, vice-captains and captains.

I spoke to a number of former Ryder Cup captains who were strong advocates of how similar events in the past have benefitted players who were pushing to make Ryder Cup teams, as well as their own captaincy journey.”

What the captains have said

Unlike in the Ryder Cup where the captains don’t play, Tommy Fleetwood and Francesco Molinari will be in the thick of the action throughout the Hero Cup. This means they’ll have to juggle captaincy duty while also ensuring they are playing at their best. 

Fleetwood can’t wait to get started and admits that he would “love to be a winning captain”. He added:

“I won’t have too many harsh feelings for another captain if they win, but definitely I would love Great Britain and Ireland to win. Everybody is taking it very seriously and I think if you prepare yourself properly for these events, that will hold you in good stead for what’s to come in the future.”

Meanwhile, Molinari is expecting a “fun week” of action that he believes will provide himself and Fleetwood with a chance to learn some valuable leadership skills.