Darren Clarke expects another close contest at the EurAsia Cup
By Ali Stafford
Last Updated: 14/01/16 3:51pm
Darren Clarke believes there will be very little to separate Europe and Asia when the two teams meet for this week's EurAsia Cup in Malaysia.
The inaugural tournament in 2014 finished 10-10, as Asia fought back from 7-3 down to dominate the Sunday singles, with an equally close contest expected this time around.
Clarke has an experienced squad at his disposal Glenmarie Golf & Country Club, with Ryder Cup veterans Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood joined by a number of last year's European Tour winners including Danny Willett, Shane Lowry and Andy Sullivan.
Although the visitors have the strong squad in terms of world ranking positions, Clarke feels that the hot and humid conditions may give Jeev Milkha Singh's side the upper hand.
"We are playing in the Asian team's backyard, so they are a bit more used to the heat and humidity than we are, which may give them a bit of an advantage," Clarke told a pre-tournament press conference.
"When the humidity comes with this sort of heat, it is quite oppressive. And it probably feels even hotter than the last time we were here. But with the co-sanctioned events we have in Asia, the Europeans do have experience playing here.
"It's too close to call, and I think there's a pretty good chance it could end in another draw. You have two very strong teams, and because it's match play anything could happen.
"Hopefully it will be every bit as exciting as last time, although I don't know how our nerves will be at the end of the week!"
This week's event provides a chance for a number of the European players to catch the eye of Ryder Cup captain Clarke, who is likely to have several rookies in his squad at Hazeltine this autumn.
The Northern Irishman's plans for Europe's bid for a fourth consecutive Ryder Cup triumph are already underway, but Clarke admits he's fully focused this week on seeing his side to EurAsia Cup victory.
"First and foremost, it's about this week," Clarke added. "We as Europe, we're here to try and win, as Jeev is, with his Asian team.
"Everything I'm trying to do is going towards this week. If we come back with a few pairings…and if I've learned something from this week come September, then so be it.
"I'm pretty set on what I'm going to do [this week]. I don't know what order I'm going to put them out.
"Match play, it's a different format for us because we don't play it too often. We played it as amateurs but not as professionals and a team event can be very, very exciting."
Watch the EurAsia Cup throughout the week live on Sky Sports 4 - your home of golf