The 2018 EurAsia Cup, played over the Glenmarie Golf & Country Club in Kuala Lumpur, ended with victory for Europe by 14 points to 10. Asia had led by a point after the first day’s fourballs and still had a point advantage after Saturday’s foursomes. There were a dozen singles matches yesterday and Europe wasted no time in overturning the deficit, winning seven of the first eight matches out and eventually running out comfortable winners. In a Ryder Cup year, it was perhaps instructive to note that the 12 European players included some decidedly top names: Rafa Cabrero Bello, Paul Casey, Paul Dunne, Ross Fisher, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Tommy Fleetwood, Tyrrell Hatton, Alex Levy, Alex Noren, Thomas Pieters, Henrik Stenson and Bernd Wiesberger.
And in a Ryder Cup year it was notable that the captain of the Euros was Thomas Bjorn, the Danish Ryder Cup veteran who will captain the European team in Paris in September. This was the third staging of the EurAsia Cup, the previous two having first finished in a tie and then resulting in an extraordinary 13-point victory for Team Europe two years ago. In its previous guise, although featuring different teams, the EurAsia Cup was known as the Seve Trophy. It seems vaguely fitting that this year Bjorn, who made his Ryder Cup playing debut when Europe won the Ryder Cup at Valderrama, under the captaincy of Seve Ballesteros, should skipper both teams. Coincidentally, the match at Golf National this autumn will be only the second time that it has been played on continental Europe, 21 years after that memorable match in Spain.
To no one’s shock, Bjorn admitted in Malaysia that France had been very much on his mind. “In terms of how all-consuming the [Ryder Cup] captaincy is,” he said, “I really feel it’s on my mind 24/7. I even wake up in the middle of the night thinking about it. It really is on my mind all the time and no matter what little thing I’m thinking about, it has a Ryder Cup perspective. Everything people say about the job is true, and it’s a lot more than you think it will be.”
As for the EurAsia Cup, Bjorn was understandably happy with the outcome. “The players came off the golf course yesterday [a point in arrears] and there was a determination and a will of wanting to win this,” he said. “To then go out and do the job the way they did today shows a lot about the character of these 12 guys and it shows a lot about the character of European golf. I think that’s what I take away from this week: 12 great guys, 12 guys that want to go places in the game of golf.”
And talking of places, and the 12 that will be up for grabs when we get to the big-time in Paris later this year, there will be the likes of Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Sergio Garcia and Jon Rahm to factor into the mix. Yes, the countdown has begun.
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