Luke Donald says Hero Cup is 'building block' for Europe's Ryder Cup future
The Englishman reckons it’s about trying to put “building blocks” in place for Europe to get back to winning ways in the biennial event after a thumping defeat last time out at Whistling Straits and this week’s Hero Cup in Abu Dhabi is a perfect example.
“Not everyone playing here will be in Rome, obviously,” said Donald, who is overseeing the three-day event at Abu Dhabi Golf Club but has appointed Tommy Fleetwood and Francesco Molinari as the playing captains of Great Britain and Ireland and Continental Europe respectively.
“But it wouldn't surprise me that a lot of these going forward will play in future Ryder Cups. So this is a building block. Hopefully this is the first of many Hero Cups.I think it's important to have this on the schedule, get people in a team room, see how they do with that. You learn and pick up a lot this week. And, certainly, we're off to a great start.”
That was in reference to a positive reaction from the players to Donald inviting the last three winning European captains - Jose Maria Olazabal, Paul McGinley and Thomas Bjorn - to be part of the event in the United Arab Emirates.
“You know, the first night was very special,” said Donald of the trio delivering motivational speeches. “To have our last three winning Ryder Cup captains come here and speak to them, you could look around the room and everyone was very engaged.
“They know what this means. They know it's a great opportunity to impress and show us what they have. So I’m just pleased with how everyone's kind of getting along.”
Fleetwood will lead from the front in the opening session alongside 2019 Open champion Shane Lowry, while Scottish duo Ewen Ferguson and Bob MacIntyre will join forces with Richard Mansell and Seamus Power respectively.
Friday fourballs (UAE times; Continental Europe names first): 11.05am Alex Noren/Thomas Pieters v Tommy Fleetwood/Shane Lowry; 11.20am Antoine Rozner/Thomas Detry; 11.35am Victor Perez/Guido Migliozzi; 11.50am Francesco Molinari/Nicolai Hojgaard; 12.05am Sepp Straka/Adrian Meronk v Seamus Power/Bob MacIntyre.
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