Tommy Fleetwood and Francesco Molinari named as Hero Cup captains

They earned the nickname ‘Moliwood’ after being a star pairing in the 2018 Ryder Cup in France and now Tommy Fleetwood and Francesco Molinari are going to be rival captains.

Tommy Fleetwood and Francesco Molinari formed a brilliant partnership in the 2018 Ryder Cup at Le Golf National in France. PIcture: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images.
Tommy Fleetwood and Francesco Molinari formed a brilliant partnership in the 2018 Ryder Cup at Le Golf National in France. PIcture: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images.

It follows the pair being confirmed by the DP World Tour to lead the respective Great Britain and Ireland and Continental Europe teams in the new Hero Cup.

The new team match play contest will take place at Abu Dhabi Golf Club from 13-15 January, with Fleetwood and Molinari each selecting nine players for their teams before making up the ten-man line-ups by playing themselves.

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The teams will be confirmed early next month, with Fleetwood and Molinari working alongside Luke Donald, who will preside over the event in his capacity as 2023 European Ryder Cup captain.

Guy Kinnings, European Ryder Cup Director and the DP World Tour’s Deputy CEO and Chief Commercial Officer, said: “I am delighted to confirm Tommy and Fran as captains for the Hero Cup – they will unquestionably bring so much to the role.”

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Molinari and Fleetwood won all four of their matches together at Le Golf National as they played a big part in Europe landing a 17.5-10.5 victory under Thomas Bjorn’s captaincy.

Former Open champion Molinari said: “The Hero Cup is a great idea and will be a very good way for European players to get some more experience of playing in team match play. I definitely felt like it benefited me when I played in similar events in the past.

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“Hopefully as captains, Tommy and I can bring some of our own experience of team golf to help the other players and we are looking forward to working with Luke on this exciting new concept ahead of a big year for European golf with the Ryder Cup taking place in my home country.”

Fleetwood, who is defending the title in this week’s Nedbank Challenge in South Africa, added: “Fran and I obviously get on very well so I am sure it will feel a little strange at first being opposing captains, but I think the Hero Cup is a fantastic way for players to compete in team match play, which is something both of us have always relished.

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“Abu Dhabi has been pretty good to me over the years so hopefully that will continue in January and I look forward to working closely with Fran and Luke, as well as all the players.”

Selection will take into account performances on the DP World Tour Rankings with the contest itself consisting of one session of foursomes, one session of fourballs and one session of singles matches, with all 20 players taking part in each session. Members of the winning team will each earn$125,000, with those on the losing team each receiving$75,000.

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“I am grateful to Tommy and Fran for supporting this overall concept and for accepting the roles of playing captains,” said Donald, who was instrumental in the event being teed up in the countdown to the Ryder Cup in Rome.

“Their wealth of experience, both individually in the wider team environment, will be a huge asset for the other 18 players who will be part of this event in Abu Dhabi in January.”

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