In the week leading up to the DP World Tour’s (formerly European Tour) flagship tournament – the BMW PGA Championship, which also kicks off Ryder Cup qualifying – the European circuit has announced a new tournament format. The Hero Cup in January 2023 will be played in team match play as a sort of replacement for the Seve Trophy last held in 2013. Captain Luke Donald is enthusiastic and hopes to prepare for the Ryder Cup.
DP World Tour: New team match play format
“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,” the leader of the European Ryder Cup team for the 2023 continental competition in Rome is quoted as saying in a DP World Tour press release. The Hero Cup, scheduled to take place at Abu Dhabi Golf Club from 13-15 January 2023, will feature two ten-man teams made up of British/Irish and Continental European golfers.
Donald will be in charge of the event and will assemble both teams in consultation with their respective captains, who are yet to be announced. The competition will consist of a fourball, a foursome and a singles round, each involving all 20 players. Who will be allowed to compete in the new tournament format will be announced after the season ends with the DP World Tour Championship 2022 in Dubai. The performance of the past season will also be taken into account in the selection.
Luke Donald with plenty of influence
“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,” Donald, who was appointed skipper just a few weeks ago, said of the reasons for the new format.
The Ryder Cup captain thus continues to influence the design of the Continental Cup, which will be held in September 2023 at the Marco Simone Golf & Country Club outside Rome. Most recently, Donald, together with his vice-captains, had adjusted the qualifying criteria and given himself more leeway by selecting a larger number of picks. Now the aim is to increase competitiveness again through playing practice in team competition and in man-to-man battles after they went down in the “Waterloo of Wisconsin” against an overpowering American team in 2021.