Europe's golfers will be hoping to impress Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn when the EurAsia Cup starts in Malaysia early tomorrow morning.
Team Asia captain Arjun Atwal issued a clear statement of intent by unleashing his strongest pairings for Friday's opening Fourball matches in the EurAsia Cup.
The Dane, who will also captain Europe at the Ryder Cup in France later this year, will have a stellar cast at his disposal.
"I like match play a lot more, that's why I'm hosting my own tournament as match play, as well", said Pieters, who enjoyed a superb Ryder Cup debut at Hazeltine in 2016 as he won four of his five matches. I have players from all over.
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"When I spend time with them here, it's a bit of a different environment, and I have their ear a little bit better this week than I do week in, week out because I am their captain this week and I'm guiding the whole group to where we want to go".
They join Swedes Henrik Stenson (world No 9) and Alex Noren (19); England's Paul Casey (14), Tyrrell Hatton (17), Tommy Fleetwood (18), Matthew Fitzpatrick (29) and Ross Fisher (31); Spain's Rafa Cabrera Bello (20); Belgium's Thomas Pieters (38) and Austria's Bernd Wiesberger (42) in a side that features several likely members of Bjorn's 2018 Ryder Cup team. Those results were enough to get him into the team for the matchplay competition against Team Asia at Glenmarie Golf Club in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur.
In three previous rounds of the EurAsia Cup, 37-year-old Fisher has an 83.33 per cent winning percentage with two wins and one half. "I always really look forward to foursomes because I think that's a really challenging and testing form of golf".
"If that's the way Paul (McGinley) and Darren (Clarke) approached their captaincy, it's probably the reason I am approaching mine in the same way, and the reason that whoever is the next captain has to take the same approach".
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On the offense overall this season: "I think that's certainly something that we have to look at and evaluate this offseason". A 42-yard interference call that opened the game was followed by Jay Ajayi fumbling the ball away at the Atlanta 33.
"We're very well aware that Asia has never fielded a stronger team than they do this time, and golf is a odd game", Bjorn said. This is no such thing as an underdog in match play golf.
"I think the whole match play feeling, you see it at The Ryder Cup, and obviously the USA guys have the Presidents Cup".
"In terms of how all-consuming the captaincy is, I really feel it's on my mind 24/7", he said.
Promising young Malaysian Gavin Green, the latest Asian Tour Order of Merit victor, is among a handful on the Asian side playing in the event at the Glenmarie Golf and Country Club for the first time.
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