Golf: Malaysia to host Asia vs Europe team event

KUALA LUMPUR - Top players from Europe and Asia will face off every two years in a new team golf event in Malaysia styled after the Ryder Cup, officials said Monday.

The US$4 million (S$5.11 million) Eurasia Cup, to be administered by the Asian Tour and European Tour, will pit 10 golfers from each region against each other in a three-day matchplay format that tees off next March 28.

It will be held at the Glenmarie Golf and Country Club near Kuala Lumpur.

Officials said it was hoped the event could spark a new and exciting intercontinental rivalry of the sort that has made the Ryder Cup such a popular and passionate competition and, to a less extent, the Presidents Cup.

"I believe the EurAsia Cup will create a fiercely fought contest for supremacy where players from both continents will compete against each other in the true spirit of the game and display the values of golf, which are integrity, honesty and perfection," Asian Tour Chairman Kyi Hla Han said.

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

Charlie Tingey, director of EurAsia Golf, an entity formed by the two tours to launch the competition, said it is hoped the tournament will "catapult" more Asian golfers onto the world stage.

The Asian Tour is banking on rising stars like Kiradech Aphibarnrat, and popular veterans like Thongchai Jaidee, both from Thailand, to help raise the game's profile in the region.

Tingey brushed off concerns that the competition could struggle to attract top European golfers due to its timing.

It comes a month before the Masters in the US, when many players stay closer to home to hone their games for that premier event.

"This is a tournament run by the tours. There is no perfect date. We do expect the full support of the players," he said.

The Asian team will comprise the leading four available players from the final 2013 Asian Tour Order of Merit, the top three available players based on the world golf rankings, and three captain's picks.

Europe will feature the leading four available players from the final 2013 Race to Dubai rankings, the four highest-ranked available players and two captain's picks.

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