sport

EurAsia Cup captains named

Thongchai Jaidee and Miguel Angel Jimenez have been named captains for Team Asia and Team Europe for the inaugural EurAsia Cup next year.

The duo will lead golfers from both continents over three days of Ryder Cup-styled matchplay at the Glenmarie Golf and Country Club in Kuala Lumpur from March 27-29.

Thai Thongchai has won the Asian Tour Order of Merit three times and has 16 professional victories to his name, including five wins on the European Tour and two Malaysian Open titles.

"I am honoured and delighted to be asked to captain Team Asia," said the 44-year-old. "Week in, week out, we compete as individuals, but the EurAsia Cup gives us a different way to play the sport.

"I am a huge fan of The Ryder Cup, but being Asian, I will never get to play in it. The EurAsia Cup will offer the chance for the best Asian and European players to come together, and I am looking forward to leading a determined group that will do their very best for team honour and pride."

Experience

Spanish star Jimenez, who has won 19 tournaments in 28 years on the European Tour, believes he can draw on his Ryder Cup experiences to help secure the trophy for Europe.

"The EurAsia Cup is a very exciting event indeed and I can't wait to get to Malaysia for the tournament," said the 49-year-old, a six-time winner on the Asia Tour.

"We have Europe playing the USA at The Ryder Cup, and it is great to now have a fully sanctioned, official competition for the Europeans to play against the best from Asia. With so many world-class players now emerging from the Asian Tour, it is sure to be a close contest."

And Jimenez used his unveiling in Hong Kong to announce the first four automatic qualifiers for his 10-man team will be Graeme McDowell, Jamie Donaldson, Victor Dubuisson and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, who secured their places on the team through their final positions in the 2013 Race to Dubai.

The remaining spots in the European side will be taken from the leading four available players from the official World Golf Ranking on February 3, the playing captain and one captain's pick by Jimenez.

McDowell, the 2010 US Open champion who secured the winning point at the Ryder Cup later the same year, said: "I am really looking forward to playing the EurAsia Cup.

"It's a great concept to bring Asia and Europe together and I think it has a lot of potential to become a very big event."