Skip to content

Hero Cup: Format, teams, and TV times as Great Britain and Ireland, and Continental Europe clash in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi Golf Club plays host to the Hero Cup, which sees teams representing Great Britain and Ireland, and Continental Europe clash with an eye on the Ryder Cup later this year; watch the Hero Cup live on Sky Sports from Friday, January 13

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - JANUARY 11: Francesco Molinari, Captain of Continental Europe, and Tommy Fleetwood, Captain of Great Britain and Ireland, pose with the trophy prior to the Hero Cup at Abu Dhabi Golf Club on January 11, 2023 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

The best DP World Tour golfers from Great Britain and Ireland, and Continental Europe will battle it out in a new team tournament in Abu Dhabi this week.

The Hero Cup takes place over three days at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, starting on Friday, January 13 and is being shown live on Sky Sports.

Here, we guide you through everything you need to know about the tournament…

What is the Hero Cup?

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

The DP World Tour has announced the Hero Cup, a new team match play contest aimed at giving European players experience in the format ahead of potential future Ryder Cup appearances

The Hero Cup is a team tournament pitting sides comprised of 10 British and Irish players, and 10 from Continental Europe who are members of the DP World Tour. All of the players taking part have been selected by Team Europe Ryder Cup captain Luke Donald.

The tournament was instituted with the intention of giving players more experience of Ryder Cup-style events in both playing and captaincy capacities.

Former world No 1 Donald, who will lead Europe's attempt to regain the Ryder Cup at the Marco Simone Golf and Country Club later this year after being appointed following Henrik Stenson's defection to LIV Golf, will be working closely with both teams in the Hero Cup across all three days as well.

"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," Donald said at the launch of the Hero Cup.

Also See:

FILE - Luke Donald, of England, acknowledges the gallery after his putt on the 18th green during the first round of the Wells Fargo Championship golf tournament, on May 5, 2022, at TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm golf club in Potomac, Md. Donald has been selected Ryder Cup captain for Europe, taking over for Henrik Stenson after the Swede was stripped of the job for signing on with the Saudi-funded LIV Golf series. (AP Photo/Nick Wass, File)
Image: This year's Team Europe Ryder Cup captain Luke Donald will be working closely with both teams at the Hero Cup

"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."

The tournament is in some ways a revival of the Seve Trophy, which was played eight times between 2000 and 2013 in non-Ryder Cup years. Six of those were won by Great Britain and Ireland.

Who is playing?

Six-time DP World Tour tournament winner Tommy Fleetwood and 2018 Open Championship victor Francesco Molinari have been selected by Donald as playing captains for the Great Britain and Ireland, and Continental Europe teams respectively.

Donald has chosen the other players competing in the Hero Cup as well, with former BMW PGA Championship winner Tyrrell Hatton and 2019 Open champion Shane Lowry among those lining up for GB and Ireland.

Hero Cup teams

GB & Ireland Continental Europe
Tommy Fleetwood (captain) Francesco Molinari (captain)
Ewen Ferguson Thomas Detry
Tyrrell Hatton Nicolai Hojgaard
Shane Lowry Adrian Meronk
Robert MacIntyre Guido Migliozzi
Seamus Power Alex Noren
Callum Shinkwin Victor Perez
Jordan Smith Thomas Pieters
Matt Wallace Sepp Straka
Richard Mansell Antoine Rozner

The Continental Europe team, meanwhile, features another PGA Championship winner in 2017 champion Alex Noren and the current Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship holder Thomas Pieters. Rasmus Hojgaard had been due to feature too, but the 21-year-old Dane withdrew and has been replaced by his twin brother Nicolai.

"We have a fantastic mix of major champions and Ryder Cup players, alongside those who are hoping to secure their debut for Team Europe in Rome next September, and the Hero Cup will provide me with a fantastic opportunity to see how these players adapt and react in a team environment," Donald said.

What is the format?

Like the Ryder Cup, the Hero Cup is a three-day match play team event comprising fourballs, foursomes and singles, and will see all 20 players feature over the course of the tournament.

Pairings will be announced on Thursday, January 12 and the fourballs get the tournament under way on Friday, with five matches taking place.

That is followed by the foursomes on Saturday, with five matches taking place in the morning and another five teeing off in the afternoon.

The event is rounded off with 10 singles matches on Sunday.

How can this help Team Europe's Ryder Cup preparations?

A heavy 19-9 defeat to Team USA at Whistling Straits two years ago led to much soul-searching for Europe, with 2023 captain Donald eager to ensure players on the DP World Tour gain experience of these team format events both in playing and captaincy roles.

Great Britain and Ireland playing captain Fleetwood, who was part of Team Europe's 2018 success in France and featured again two years ago, is in no doubt the previous team tournaments he has played in have proven invaluable when competing in the Ryder Cup.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Donald believes his side will be underdogs against the United States at the Ryder Cup, although opposite number Zach Johnson was in strong disagreement with his assessment

"I look back on other team events that I've played in the past and how important they were to myself, to the team-mates and the captains and everybody else involved," Fleetwood said.

"The Ryder Cup is a huge motivator for every player in Europe that has a chance to play in September but there is a long way to go before that and you can only go one week at a time."

Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy, who play mainly on the PGA Tour, currently lead the European Points table to decide automatic qualification for the Ryder Cup team. Lowry and Fleetwood are in contention too, sitting third and fourth respectively.

In total, three players will qualify for automatic selection from the European Points list, with three more qualifying from the World Points list.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Donald has been studying how players cope 'under pressure' as he assesses possible new recruits for Team Europe

Donald then has six captain's picks - up from three in 2021 - to fill out his 12-man squad, which means plenty of members of both teams at the Hero Cup will have a good opportunity to impress under his watchful gaze should they not be in a position to secure automatic qualification by the cut-off date of September 3.

What they're saying

Great Britain and Ireland playing captain Tommy Fleetwood...

"I would love to be a winning captain. I won't have too many harsh feelings for another captain if they win, but definitely I would love Great Britain and Ireland to win. The last matches that Great Britain and Ireland played were in 2013 and they got beat, but would look to not get beat on this occasion.

"But everybody is taking it very seriously and I think if you prepare yourself properly for these particular events, that will hold you in good stead for what's to come in the future if you manage to make those Ryder Cup teams."

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

After an exhilarating 2022, there's plenty of action to get excited about on Sky Sports Golf this year!

Continental Europe playing captain Francesco Molinari...

"I think both Tommy and I are lucky this week that we have two really good groups of professionals and guys who are motivated. They all come here trying to feel ready to play some good golf, Friday, Saturday and Sunday and that obviously makes our job a lot easier.

"It's going to be a fun week and it's going to be a busy week for the two of us, but it will be a great chance to learn and make mistakes - hopefully not too many - and just try to make the guys comfortable and have them play the golf that we know they can play, have a great competition, and we'll see who comes out on top on Sunday."

How to watch

Live DP World Tour Golf

Live DP World Tour Golf

Live DP World Tour Golf

All three days of the Hero Cup will be live on Sky Sports Golf, with last day being simulcast on Sky Sports Main Event as well. The tournament tees off on Friday, January 13 with coverage starting from 8am.

Sky Sports will be running live blog coverage of all three days on the website too, along with reports, reaction and video clips.

Golf Now logo.

Get the best prices and book a round at one of 1,700 courses across the UK & Ireland

Around Sky