Captains Darren Clarke and Jeev Milkha Singh are predicting another close contest when the cream of Europe goes up against the might of Asia in the second edition of the EURASIA CUP presented by DRB-HICOM.
The inaugural tournament in 2014 ended 10-10 after a thrilling final day fightback by the Asian team and, given how closely the sides are again matched this week, neither man would be surprised if it were to end in another draw at Glenmarie Golf & Country Club, in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur.
Clarke, who can call on the might of Ryder Cup veterans Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood in his 12-strong team, believes that whilst Europe may boast a marginally stronger line-up on paper, home advantage could prove pivotal for Singh’s side.
He said: “We are playing in the Asian team’s backyard, so they are a bit more used to the heat and humidity than we are, which may give them a bit of an advantage. When the humidity comes with this sort of heat, it is quite oppressive. And it probably feels even hotter than the last time we were here. But with the co-sanctioned events we have in Asia, the Europeans do have experience playing here.
“So it’s too close to call, and I think there’s a pretty good chance it could end in another draw. You have two very strong teams, and because it’s match play anything could happen. Hopefully it will be every bit as exciting as last time. Although I don’t know how our nerves will be at the end of the week!”
Those sentiments were echoed by Singh, who revealed it was an honour to be asked to follow Thongchai Jaidee as captain of the Asian team.
Much like his predecessor, the genial Indian has vowed to adopt a relaxed approach to the role and will allow his charges to express themselves.
“I believe in our players,” Singh said. “I know that all of them have the experience. They are used to the weather. They have played in Asia many times, and they play these kind of courses all the time.
“So I just basically have to make sure they are comfortable, happy, and relaxed. When all of these things are given to him, that’s when a player plays his best. And I don’t even have to tell them to try their best, because I know they are all going to give 100 per cent.”
The action gets underway on Friday with six fourball matches, followed by the foursomes on Saturday and concluding with Sunday’s 12 singles matches.