Shah Alam, Malaysia: Darren Clarke and Jeev Milkha Singh have been named as non-playing captains of the European and Asian teams for next year’s EurAsia Cup.
Clarke and Singh have been friends for as long as they can remember, and they are relishing the opportunity to lead their continents to what would be a first victory at the EurAsia Cup, after a 10-10 draw at the event’s inaugural staging in 2014.
As they got together to announce the return to DRB-HICOM’s Glenmarie Golf and Country Club from January 15-17, 2016 for the second staging of the EurAsia Cup, Clarke and Singh set the tone for what promises to be an intriguing rivalry.
“We have known each other a very, very long time,” smiled Clarke. “We have played together on Tour for most of our careers. Both teams that are assembled will be desperate to win the EurAsia Cup for the first time – when we get to Kuala Lumpur Jeev will be trying to kick my butt and I will be trying to kick his. It’s going to be a great week – the guys are looking forward to it already.”
Singh added: “It’s an honour to be offered the EurAsia Cup captaincy and I am excited by the prospect of leading what I hope will be a very strong Asian team. It is a special event – I remember watching it two years ago and it was so exciting. I think it’s going to be great for Asia and Europe. I’m looking forward to going up against Darren – I’m going to have a lot of fun with him!”
No matter the outcome of the second EurAsia Cup, which will see six fourball matches and six foursomes matches played over the opening two days before 12 final-day singles matches, the players of Asia and Europe will be guided by two of golf’s most respected competitors.
Singh, a former double Asian Tour number one who has won 20 times around the world including four European Tour victories, is India’s most successful player.
The 43-year-old from Chandigarh is the son of Olympic athlete parents, his father a sprinter famously known as the flying Sikh, while his mother captained the Indian volleyball team. Jeev was awarded the Padma Shri (the fourth highest civilian award in India) for services to golf in 2007.
Singh believes the Asian players are capable of outplaying their European counterparts in team competition, citing the fact that four Asians are in the International Team taking on America in next month’s Presidents Cup in Korea.
“There are so many world class Asian players,” said Singh. “We have a lot of players in the Presidents Cup team this year which proves how good these guys are now. I want them to have fun and be positive and make sure the team spirit is there so we can try and achieve a great result.
“I think I will be a good captain. I think mostly you have to let the guys get on with it. It is my job to keep them positive and patient and let them believe in themselves.”
The 2011 Open champion, Clarke will lead Europe to Hazeltine next September to defend The Ryder Cup, and the 47-year-old Northern Irishman believes his EurAsia Cup captaincy can provide invaluable experience as he seeks to continue Europe’s incredible Ryder Cup record.
“The EurAsia Cup is going to give me a great opportunity to see a lot of potential Ryder Cup players in a match play and team situation. Looking to the future, I think any prospective Ryder Cup captain would relish the opportunity to put some pairings together and see how guys play together and bond.
“I have to see how the team shapes up – some of the guys I will know very well and some I won’t know so well in terms of their golf games. There might be some opportunities for me to see some potential Ryder Cup pairings and that is something that could be invaluable to me.
“But first and foremost we want to go there and win the EurAsia Cup. I have already had a lot of players talking to me about it and no matter who is in the European side, we will be hungry to win.”