The inaugural Hero Cup takes place at Abu Dhabi Golf Club between January 13 and 15 as the tournament sees players from Great Britain and Ireland take on a team from Continental Europe.
The event is reminiscent, and not without controversy, of the Seve Trophy – a biennial match play tournament that also featured teams from Great Britain & Ireland and Continental Europe, which was last played in 2013. That tournament was effectively an opportunity to give captaincy experience to future Ryder Cup captains including Colin Montgomerie, Nick Faldo, and Thomas Bjorn, as well as experience in team match play for potential Team Europe players. Great Britain and Ireland claimed the title six times over the eight events.
Similarly, the Hero Cup is considered a warm-up for the Ryder Cup in September. Not surprisingly, then, European captain Luke Donald will oversee the event as he continues preparations to try and to reclaim the trophy Europe last won in 2018 against the USA. Like the Seve Trophy, the Hero Cup also features players with Ryder Cup experience and several rookies with aspirations of making the team.
Great Britain and Ireland is captained by Tommy Fleetwood, and the ten-man team will include eye-catching names including Scot Robert MacIntyre. He did his chances of making Team Europe's Ryder Cup team no harm with victory at last September's Italian Open, which was held at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club near Rome, where the 2023 Ryder Cup will be held. Irishman Shane Lowry, who tasted victory the week earlier in the BMW PGA Championship, also plays. Another Irishman, Seamus Power, who has admitted he harbours ambitions of making the Ryder Cup team, is one to keep an eye on, while World No.26, Tyrell Hatton, also appears.
Continental Europe is captained by Italian Francesco Molinari. Among his selections are Belgian World No.28 Thomas Pieters and Polish World No.47, Adrian Meronk, whose most recent victory came in last month's ISPS Handa Australian Open, where beat Adam Scott by five shots. Austrian Sepp Straka, who edged out Lowry to win last year's Honda Classic, and Frenchman Antoine Rozner, who claimed the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open title a week before Christmas, also plays. Up-and-coming Danish star Rasmus Hojgaard had been in the team, but he has withdrawn due to injury, leaving an opportunity for his twin brother, Nicolai, who has replaced him.
As for the captains, Molinari and Fleetwood formed a wonderful partnership at the 2018 Ryder Cup, winning all four of their matches together, and it is likely they will team up again in September.
The tournament will consist of three days of action. Friday sees the two 10-player teams go head-to-head in five fourballs matches. Saturday has two sessions splitting 10 foursomes matches, one in the morning, one in the afternoon. Finally, there is one session of 10 singles matches beginning on Sunday morning.
All 20 players will feature in each session. The winner of each match earns a point for the team, with teams receiving ½ a point each in matches that end in a tie. There are a possible 25 points available, with the first team to reach 13 the winner. Each member of the winning team will earn $125,000, while those on the losing team will receive $75,000 from an overall purse of $2m.
Below are the full teams for the 2023 Hero Cup.
Great Britain and Ireland Hero Cup Team
- Tommy Fleetwod (captain)
- Ewen Ferguson
- Tyrrell Hatton
- Shane Lowry
- Robert MacIntyre
- Seamus Power
- Callum Shinkwin
- Jordan Smith
- Matt Wallace
- Richard Mansell
Continental Europe Hero Cup team
- Francesco Molinari (captain)
- Thomas Detry
- Nicolai Hojgaard
- Adrian Meronk
- Guido Migliozzi
- Alex Noren
- Victor Perez
- Thomas Pieters
- Sepp Straka
- Antoine Rozner
Hero Cup Format
- Friday: 5x fourballs (one session)
- Saturday: 10x foursomes (two sessions)
- Sunday: 10x singles (one session)
Ross Kilvington is a freelance writer from Scotland who has had his work published by acclaimed publications such as Nutmeg alongside popular online blogs including the Gentleman Ultra, North Section and Engrossed in Football. Ross holds a passionate interest in golf and tries to play as often as possible, although having two daughters under the age of four means his quest to break 80 will have to wait a little bit longer. He writes about golf in his spare time, most recently having an article published in the Golf Memories anthology Mind the Links, which was released in July with all proceeds going towards Alzheimer charities. With a handicap that floats between 13-14, highlights are few and far between on the golf course, with an eagle on the par 4 16th at Kinghorn one that stands out (it doesn’t matter that it was only 290 yards!).
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