A full house of 12 European Tour winners, incorporating six Ryder Cup players, will make up the European team named for next year’s EurAsia Cup in Malaysia.
Led by Thomas Bjørn – eight months before he also captains Europe in the Ryder Cup in France – the European team will tackle Asia in the third staging of the biennial contest, which will once again take place at the Glenmarie Golf and Country Club in Kuala Lumpur from January 12-14, 2018.
Europe will be looking to retain the trophy they won in convincing fashion by 18 ½ – 5 ½ in 2016, but will face a strong Asian team on home soil captained, for the first time, by India’s Arjun Atwal.
Leading the ten automatic qualifiers from the 2017 Race to Dubai rankings is Englishman Tommy Fleetwood, who topped the money list after a thrilling end to the season at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.
Joining Fleetwood as automatic qualifiers are his fellow Englishmen Tyrrell Hatton, Ross Fisher and Matthew Fitzpatrick, Spain’s Rafa Cabrera-Bello, Austria’s Bernd Wiesberger, Ireland’s Paul Dunne, Belgium’s Thomas Pieters, and the Swedish duo of Alex Noren and Henrik Stenson. Completing the European team are the two wildcard selections named by Bjørn, Paul Casey and Alex Levy.
Casey will bring vital experience of the match play realm through his Ryder Cup appearances, which included being part of Europe’s back-to-back nine-point triumphs in 2004 and 2006, while Levy will bring his own particular brand of French flair, with golf fans in his home country hoping that he can go on to become the fourth Frenchman to play in the Ryder Cup in his home country next September.
Bjørn, who played in the inaugural EurAsia Cup match in 2014 which ended in a 10-10 tie, said: “The interest from the players has been very strong and you can see that from the fact that the ten automatic qualifiers come from within the top 20 of the final Race to Dubai rankings. That is a good indication of what the EurAsia Cup is becoming, and I think European golf is in a great place right now.
“I’m very encouraged by the make-up of the team and we are strong from one through to 12. I have some great experience in terms of six players who have experienced Ryder Cups, as well as the 2016 Open Champion in Henrik. But I also have some exciting young talent led by Tommy and Tyrrell. I am looking forward to seeing how all 12 deliver on this particular stage. It’s a different kind of format to what they are used to week‑in, week‑out, so it will be interesting to see how they react to that environment.”
The line-ups for the 2018 EurAsia Cup will be completed on November 28, when Arjun Atwal names his Asian team.