Guy Kinnings and Dr Pawan Munjal (left) shake hands following a press conference prior to the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Golf Club in Virginia Water on Tuesday. Supplied picture
Abu Dhabi Golf Club will once again play host to the stars of the DP World Tour with the newly announced Hero Cup, a new team match play contest aimed at giving European players experience in the format, taking place in the capital from Jan.13-15, 2023.
The former home of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship will welcome two ten-man teams comprising players from Great Britain & Ireland and Continental Europe selected by Luke Donald, who will preside over the event in his capacity as 2023 European Ryder Cup Captain, in consultation with the two team captains, who will be named in due course.
Donald will work with both teams in Abu Dhabi and will keep a close eye on the action inside the ropes across the three days, with the contest consisting of one session of foursomes, one session of fourballs and one session of singles matches, with all 20 players taking part in each session.
He said: “One of the first things I was keen to do when I was appointed as Ryder Cup Captain was to reinstate a team match play contest to give playing and leadership experience to future Ryder Cup players, vice-captains and Captains.
“I spoke to a number of former Ryder Cup Captains who were strong advocates of how similar events in the past have benefitted players who were pushing to make Ryder Cup teams, as well as their own captaincy journey.
“I am therefore grateful to Hero MotoCorp and the DP World Tour for supporting the concept of the Hero Cup and I look forward to seeing the players compete at Abu Dhabi Golf Club in January.”
The two teams will be confirmed following the conclusion of the 2022 DP World Tour Championship, Dubai, with performance on the DP World Tour Rankings taken into account in the player selection process.
The announcement of the new tournament builds on the collaboration between the DP World Tour and Emirates Golf Federation, who announced a long-term partnership earlier in the year which focuses on enhancing golf in the UAE across all levels of the sport, from grassroots initiatives right through to the professional game, building on the Tour’s long-term association with the region which dates back to 1989.
“We’re thrilled to be welcoming the next generation of European stars for this exciting new event on the schedule,” said General Abdullah Alhashmi, Vice-Chairman of the Emirates Golf Federation.
Aref Al Awani, General Secretary of Abu Dhabi Sports Council, added: “We are delighted to be hosting the Hero Cup at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, adding yet another fantastic tournament to our roster of world class sporting events.”
Abu Dhabi Golf Club also has a significant history with the DP World Tour having played host to the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship for 16 years before the tournament moved to Yas Links, Abu Dhabi last season.
Since Tyrrell Hatton won there in 2020, the club has undergone a series of changes under new owner Khalfan Al Kaabi, and the Emirati can’t wait to show the world his exciting vision for the future of the club when the Hero Cup rolls into town.
“Abu Dhabi Golf Club and the DP World Tour have enjoyed a fantastic relationship over the years in hosting the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship and we’re delighted to once again offer our world class facilities and second to none hospitality to fans and players alike for the Hero Cup,” said Kaabi.
The Hero Cup extends Hero MotoCorp’s long-term relationship with the European Tour group which began at the 2015 Hero Indian Open.
Dr Pawan Munjal, Chairman & CEO, Hero MotoCorp, said: “We have always supported innovation in golf and this new team match play event on the DP World Tour is certainly an interesting format.
Guy Kinnings, European Ryder Cup Director and the DP World Tour’s Deputy CEO and Chief Commercial Officer, said: “The Hero Cup is another example of Hero MotoCorp’s commitment to innovation in golf and to our Tour in general.”