Published: Fri, January 12, 2018
Sport | By Wilson Duncan

Bjorn eyes EurAsia victory with Ryder Cup in mind

Bjorn eyes EurAsia victory with Ryder Cup in mind

India's SSP Chawrasia is confident Team Asia can defy the odds when they take on Team Europe at the EurAsia Cup which starts on Friday.

The Wicklow golfer is now seventh on the European Points List and sixth on the World Points List in terms of Ryder Cup qualification, which means he's in the automatic qualification spots for the showdown with America in Paris later this year.

The nine-time European Tour victor is part of a 12-man line-up representing Team Europe against Team Asia at the Glenmarie Golf and Country Club in Malaysia starting Friday.

The last time the event was played, a European team led by Darren Clarke romped to an 18 1/2-5 1/2 blowout win over their Asian counterparts in the second edition of the biennial matchplay contest in 2016.

But Asia went back in front thanks to Hideto Tanihara and teenager Khongwatmai Phachara, who beat Alex Noren and Paul Dunne by two holes.

Seasoned Ryder Cup golfer Paul Casey of England and France's Alex Levy completes Team Europe as the two wildcards picked by Bjorn.

"I suspect that we'll go out tomorrow and be ready to play, and foursomes is a very different game, " Bjorn said.

"There's an excitement about representing Europe. It takes a lot of guts and hunger to win a golf tournament, and all 12 of my players have it", he said.

Thomas Bjorn with the Ryder Cup
Thomas Bjorn with the Ryder Cup

The EurAsia Cup will feature 24 matches, with day one showcasing six fourball matches, followed by six foursome matches and 12 singles matches on the final day.

"It hurt a lot", he admitted to Sky Sports.

"When I walk around (at events) and see Tyrrell Hatton and Sergio Garcia, my mind is on them, how they're playing and how I can utilise them". Asia have what is probably their strongest team ever in this event and we have to be focused. "I even wake up in the middle of the night thinking about it".

"I think that's the most important for Asia".

Need advice before a captaining debut? The European team is strong but we are just as strong. "There is no such thing as an underdog in matchplay golf".

"There's all the stuff that happens off the course, all the friendships you build in the team room, all the amusing moments, and stressful moments, it's the fabric that makes your career".

The captain is no stranger to success having won the Asian Tour Order of Merit in 2003 and enjoying multiple victories across Asia, Europe and the PGA Tour.

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