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Hero Cup: Donald looks for grit

ABU DHABI (AFP) — Luke Donald, the European Ryder Cup captain, is confident that a team tournament such as this week’s Hero Cup will help his players, still smarting under the heavy defeat to the United States in 2021.

A young American side, led by Steve Stricker, won by a thumping margin of 19-9 at Whistling Straits for only their third victory in the last 10 tournaments.

The USA will defend the title in Rome, Italy, from 29 September to 1 October.

Responding to a request by Ryder Cup players, the European Tour has reintroduced a team match-play tournament in the schedule.

The tour had the Seve Cup and the Royal Trophy in the past, but there has been no team event since the last of the three EurAsia Cup was played in Kuala Lumpur in 2018.

Tommy Fleetwood, who is leading the 10-man Great Britain & Ireland team against Francesco Molinari’s Continental Europe squad at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, revealed that one of the first things the players decided to recommend to the DP World Tour on the flight home from Wisconsin, was to bring back a team championship.

“Yeah, we didn’t enjoy losing last year at Whistling and losing pretty badly. We know the US is going to be very strong. They seem a little bit younger, they seem a little bit more unified. And they do have the Presidents Cup to work on partnerships and get together and foster that team atmosphere,” said the 45-year-old Englishman, who was made the captain when Sweden’s Henrik Stenson was stripped of the responsibility after he joined LIV Golf.

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