Golf: Jimenez, Thongchai named EurAsia Cup captains

Golf: Jimenez, Thongchai named EurAsia Cup captains
Spain's Miguel Angel Jimenez and Thongchai Jaidee (above) of Thailand were named captains for an inaugural team golf event between Asia and Europe.

HONG KONG - Spain's Miguel Angel Jimenez and Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand were on Monday named captains for an inaugural team golf event between Asia and Europe taking place in Malaysia next year.

The EurAsia Cup will pit 10 golfers from each continent against each other in three days of matchplay at the Glenmarie Golf and Country Club near Kuala Lumpur from March 27.

The US$4 million biennial tournament is styled on the popular Ryder Cup, and organisers the Asian Tour and European Tour hope it will spark an similarly exciting intercontinental rivalry.

"It is sure to be a great battle and I'll make sure the Asian team is as well prepared as they can be," 44-year-old Thongchai told reporters in Hong Kong, where the announcement was made.

Jimenez, 49, said he expected the event to be a "close contest" as he named the first European players to have qualified for his side.

Former US Open champion Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland, France's Victor Dubuisson, Spain's Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, and Jamie Donaldson of Wales will play courtesy of where they finished in this year's Race to Dubai.

Another four will make the European team based on world rankings in February, while Jimenez will have two captains' picks.

The Asian ten will include the leading four available Asian players from the 2013 Asian Tour Order of Merit and three based on world rankings, while Thongchai will select the final trio.

On Monday, European Tour officials dismissed comparisons between the EurAsia Cup and the Royal Trophy, another Europe vs Asia team competition which is taking place at Dragon Lake Golf Club in China's Guangzhou later this month.

"The EurAsia Cup is the only match event between Europe and Asia which is fully sanctioned by the European Tour and the Asian Tour," Ben Cowen, the European Tour's deputy director of international policy, said.

"We have an official qualification criteria as well so that will encourage the best players at the time to qualify for the tournament."

Players on the winning team will pocket US$300,000 each, while the runners-up will take home US$100,000 each.

The Ryder Cup is a team competition between American and European golfers taking place every two years, while the Presidents Cup puts the Americans up against an international team, minus European players.

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