Fleetwood, Molinari named captains for Team Europe's Ryder Cup warm-up
Tommy Fleetwood and Francesco Molinari have been named captains of the inaugural Hero Cup.
The event was announced this past September as a Ryder Cup warm-up for Team Europe. Twenty players will be picked, including Fleetwood and Molinari, with the players divided into squads with a Continental Europe team facing a Great Britain and Ireland squad. The event, scheduled to begin before the DP World Tour’s desert swing through the Middle East, will be over three days at Abu Dhabi Golf Club starting Jan. 13 and feature sessions of fourball, foursomes and singles.
European Ryder Cup captain Luke Donald will finalize what players are invited to the match.
Fleetwood and Molinari famously went 4-0-0 together at the 2018 Ryder Cup en route to a European victory. Molinari has made three Ryder Cup teams in his career, with Fleetwood making two appearances.
“I am grateful to Tommy and Fran for supporting this overall concept and for accepting the roles of playing captains,” Donald said. “Their wealth of experience, both individually in the wider team environment, will be a huge asset for the other 18 players who will be part of this event in Abu Dhabi in January.”
Earlier this year Team Europe changed its qualification system for making the Ryder Cup team, a process that doesn’t quite shut the door on LIV Golf members earning a spot. However, given the schism the Saudi-backed circuit has caused in professional golf—and that Henrik Stenson was stripped of his European Ryder Cup captaincy for jumping to the breakaway circuit—it’s unlikely LIV players will take part in the Hero event.
The 2023 Ryder Cup begins Sept. 29 in Rome. The Americans are the defending Ryder Cup champs after a resounding victory in 2021, but the Europeans have not lost the event on home turf since 1993.