DP World Tour Hero Cup golf tips: Luke Donald turns to new team competition for Ryder Cup pointers

Ahead of the inaugural DP World Tour Hero Cup, Tipstrr golf expert Martin Colwell assesses the strength of both teams and how the event might help Luke Donald build his team for September's Ryder Cup

The Hero Cup is an all-European version of the Ryder Cup that is newly-devised this year and starts early on Friday UK time at Abu Dhabi Golf Club in the United Arab Emirates.

The same venue hosted the HSBC Championship for 15 years before moving to Yas Links last year, so it is familiar to several of this week's competitors.

The course is a long 7,444-yard par-72, modern in design and of typical desert style, situated near to the coast without actually being coastal as such.

The three-day match is between a team from Great Britain and Ireland and one representing Continental Europe, with each team made up of 10 golfers.

As in the Ryder Cup, the event will be a mix of fourballs, foursomes and singles, and is the brainchild of Europe's Ryder Cup captain, Luke Donald, who devised this competition to test out some potential picks for the big one in September.

No doubt he will also be involved in picking the pairings in the fourballs and foursomes, so as to test out some potential matchups for when the Ryder Cup kicks off at the Marco Simone Golf and Country Club in Italy.

Meet the teams:

This tournament has been well thought out by Donald and the Europe Ryder Cup committee, and includes plenty of experience on both teams, with a mix of golfers who are newer on to the scene contending on both sides of the Atlantic.

  • Great Britain and Ireland : Tommy Fleetwood (Captain and two-time course winner); Ewen Ferguson; Tyrrell Hatton (also a course winner); Shane Lowry (another course winner); Robert Macintyre; Richard Mansell; Seamus Power; Callum Shinkwin; Jordan Smith and Matt Wallace.

  • Continental Europe: Francesco Molinari (Captain); Nicolai Hojgaard; Thomas Detry; Adrian Meronk; Guido Migliozzi; Alex Noren; Victor Perez; Thomas Pieters; Antoine Rozner and Sepp Straka.

Both teams could have been seriously strengthened by the four Europeans in the top 10 of the World Rankings, of course, but the absence of Rory McIlroy (ranked No 1), Jon Rahm (5), Matt Fitzpatrick (9) and Viktor Hovland (10), all of whom should be shoe-ins for the main event, gives Donald the chance to look at more players vying for the remaining eight Ryder Cup spots.

Betting insights

There are only a few bookmakers betting on the top player markets this week, be it for combined leading points scorer, or on the teams of Great Britain and Ireland or Europe. As the tournament is being played in Abu Dhabi, and will have limited TV exposure, interest there is not great amongst our bookmaker friends.

If you take out Tommy Fleetwood, Tyrrell Hatton and Shane Lowry, a view can be taken that there is more depth in the Continental Europe team.

Therefore, I think that it is worth a punt on the outsiders being victorious this week, with current best odds hovering around the 13/10 mark.

Let's hope that Luke Donald and his assistant captains get some useful knowledge this week, which in the long term is more important than who wins this particular event.

For information purposes, the winners this week do get £125,000 each and the losers £75,000. So, a decent three days' work for all involved.

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