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Tommy Fleetwood taking ‘hugely important’ Hero Cup seriously

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The inaugural Hero Cup will replicate the Ryder Cup as closely as possible and be taken “very seriously”, according to Tommy Fleetwood.

Fleetwood and Francesco Molinari, who earned the nickname ‘Moliwood’ after winning all four of their matches together in the 2018 Ryder Cup, are on opposite sides in Abu Dhabi as playing captains of Great Britain and Ireland and Europe respectively.

The contest effectively fills the gap left by the Seve Trophy, which was held eight times between 2000 and 2013 and gave captaincy experience to future Ryder Cup skippers Colin Montgomerie, Jose Maria Olazabal, Nick Faldo, Paul McGinley and Thomas Bjorn.

Current Ryder Cup captain Luke Donald is overseeing the event and the record 19-9 defeat at Whistling Straits in 2021 means no-one involved is treating it lightly.

“It is very serious,” Fleetwood told a pre-event press conference. “If you apply yourself properly in this event, I think it holds you in high regard for the Ryder Cup.

“I remember we had the EurAsia Cup in 2018 and I had a particularly good tournament there (winning all three matches) and Europe won, but I remember Thomas (Bjorn) was the captain and everything you do, they keep a very close eye on for the captains in September.

“When you play in these team events and when you play in the Ryder Cup a big part of it is how you play, but that’s not everything that you can give to the team. There’s attitude, there’s motivation, there’s the way you are with your team-mates.

“I think from the stats side, from Luke’s side, for the vice-captains, for myself and Fran to the players, we are making it as close to the Ryder Cup as possible.

“It’s a hugely important event for us all, this event in particular, and team golf is something that everybody from the last Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits, they wanted another team event. We wanted to be sharper in that team format.

“I think from my side and from speaking to my team-mates, we are all in a very competitive mood. We all want to perform. We all want to do our absolute best and we want to win.

“Everything from the locker rooms, the stats, and how everybody is going about everything is absolutely very serious. It’s just like any other event that we all want to be winners at the end of the day.”

The two 10-man teams will compete in foursomes, fourballs and singles, with all 20 players taking part in each session.

There will be five fourball matches on Friday, two sets of five foursomes matches on Saturday and 10 singles on Sunday.

With 25 points up for grabs, 13 will be required to win and a GB&I team which includes Shane Lowry, Tyrrell Hatton and Seamus Power are the odds-on favourites.

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