Shah Alam, Malaysia: Captain Jeev Milkha Singh has called on Asia to put a team system in place if they’re to avenge their humbling 13-point EurAsia Cup loss in two years’ time.
Darren Clarke’s Europe dominated the singles session at Glenmarie Golf and Country Club to run out victors by 18½ – 5½ points in the second edition of the Ryder Cup-style team match play event.
Despite the heavy defeat, Indian Singh could not fault the effort of the Asian players.
“I am proud of my team. I believe in these players. These players worked really hard. They gave it 100 per cent. They gave each other advice, and also my vice captain, Liang Wen-Chong, put in a lot of effort,” said Singh, a two-time former Asian Tour number one.
“We learned from this. It was a good experience, and when we come back after two years, we are going to be a stronger team and we are going to do well.
“They (players) made me feel so good and such an honour they have given me. I think this will stay with me for the rest of my life. These boys have a lot of game and they are going to do well. I think they are going to prove themselves on the world stage,” he added.
With Malaysian Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Najib Tun Abdul Razak announcing at the closing ceremony that Malaysia would host the third edition of the EurAsia Cup presented by DRB-HICOM in 2018 – the first edition ended in a 10-10 draw – Singh said he would advocate for earlier team preparation.
“I think we need to follow the same process as the European Tour. We’ve seen it for years now that they are the best team in the world in match play. They start their preparation two years before any team event or a year before. I think we need to do exactly the same.
“We need to set up a system in place for making sure that the team is ready. We’ve got everything – the stats, the ranking points, selection of the players; so that we are ready and prepared like the Europeans are,” said Singh.
Only Anirban Lahiri and KT Kim won their singles matches while Wang Jeung-hun earned a half point for Team Asia in the singles session but Singh believes all his 12 men will benefit from the experience of facing a strong European side at Glenmarie.
“It has been a good experience. I still feel that the team was really strong, and I think they still need to keep their chin up and believe in themselves that they are world beaters. The experience we have gained from this, that’s what we take away from here,” he said.
He praised Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who faced Matthew Fitzpatrick despite a shoulder injury which he has carried since Thursday after sleeping poorly.
“I thought he wouldn’t be able to play 18 holes. But he fought it out. I was thinking that he’s going to last nine holes but he took him (Fitzpatrick) down to the 18th hole. He’s a fighter. I think he’s going to do well for himself in the future because that’s what keeps a golfer going. I think he pushed himself to the limit and I’m proud of him,” said the Indian.
Singh said Malaysian duo Nicholas Fung and Danny Chia, who halved both their fourball and foursomes matches but lost in the singles to Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter respectively, can hold their heads high.
“Danny and Nicholas … fantastic show, especially in front of the home crowds. Normally when you play in front of your home crowds, you have a lot of pressure and I think they took it on a positive way,” he said.