The DP World Tour has announced that Ryder Cup heroes Tommy Fleetwood and Francesco Molinari will captain the respective Great Britain & Ireland and Continental Europe teams in the Hero Cup, which takes place at Abu Dhabi Golf Club in January.
The match play contest will take place in the UAE as a Team Europe warm-up ahead of the Ryder Cup in Rome at the end of September.
Englishman Fleetwood and Italian Molinari will each select nine golfers to play alongside them in the line-ups.
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.
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.
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.
“As I said at the launch of the tournament in September at Wentworth, we also pay tribute to the continued commitment of Dr Munjal and Hero MotoCorp, give our thanks to Abu Dhabi Sports Council and the Emirates Golf Federation for their support of the DP World Tour, and applaud Abu Dhabi Golf Club for hosting this event, which will be a fantastic way to start the 2023 calendar year.”
Molinari and Fleetwood famously forged a formidable partnership for Europe in the 2018 Ryder Cup at Le Golf National in Paris, winning all four of their matches together to earn the nickname ‘Moliwood’.
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.
“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 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.
“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.”
Team Europe skipper Donald said: “I am grateful to Tommy and Fran for supporting this overall concept and for accepting the roles of playing captains. 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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