Ryder Cup captain Bjorn to tee up at #HIO2018

Wed 28 Feb 2018

Ryder Cup captain Bjorn to tee up at #HIO2018

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Gurugram, India, February 27: Europe’s Ryder Cup captain, Thomas Bjorn, will become the first-ever current Ryder Cup captain to make an appearance when he tees off at the Hero Indian Open next week.

Bjorn, winner of 21 titles worldwide, and runner-up three times at Major tournaments, will be among the international star cast from over 30 countries at the US$1.75 million event.

The field includes six players from the World’s Top-100 who are all set to battle it out on the Gary Player layout of the DLF Golf and Country Club from March 8 to 11. The field includes a plethora of Order of Merit winners, past champions, Ryder Cup captains and a Major champion.

Interestingly, Bjorn will not be the only Ryder Cup captain in the field, as Darren Clarke, the 2011 Open champion, has also confirmed his presence.

Clarke led the European Ryder Cup team in 2016, while Bjorn will be at the helm for the 2018 Ryder Cup in France this year.

Meanwhile, as the 54th edition of the Hero Indian Open comes closer, many of the top players have shown excellent form in the run-up to the event.

One of the biggest draws in the event, Emiliano Grillo of Argentina, a teammate of India’s own Anirban Lahiri at the 2017 Presidents Cup, is coming fresh of a Top-10 finish last week on the PGA Tour. Both Grillo, a past winner on the PGA Tour, and Lahiri are flying in straight from the PGA National in Florida where they played last week.

Grillo, who was in the top-20 of three of the four Majors in 2016, is looking very strong once again in 2018. In the current wrap-around season, he already has two Top-10s on the PGA Tour, besides another tied-12th in Mexico.

Anirban Lahiri of India

India’s Lahiri is also coming off two top-10s in CIMB Classic and CJ Bridges Cup in addition to a tied-14th finish at Mayakoba, Mexico.

Even as the international players hold the spotlight, there will be considerable interest in India’s latest star, Shubhankar Sharma, who also features in his maiden World Golf Championships in Mexico this week. Shubhankar won two Asian Tour titles in the last four months, at the Joburg Open and the Maybank Championship.

The men in form on the European Tour, Joost Luiten, winner of the NBO Oman Open, and Chris Wood, who was second at the Oman event and tied-13th in Qatar Masters, alongside England’s ever-smiling and hugely popular, Andrew Johnston, tied-12th in Oman, are all looking forward to the event. Luiten was also tied-12th in Malaysia, where Shubhankar emerged champion.

 “I have heard so much about India and Indian golf that I can’t wait to get there,” said Andrew Johnston.

The Englishman, who has also had a stint on the PGA Tour, added: “I simply love Indian food and Shiv Kapur has promised to take me out for an Indian meal and I am looking forward to that. As for golf, Indians like S.S.P. (Chawrasia) and Shubhankar (Sharma) are doing so well, so it will be great to play in India.”

 Also looking forward to India is Chris Wood, whose six-foot-six-inch height will make for a great visual contrast as he stands alongside the reigning two-time Hero Indian Open winner diminutive S.S.P. Chawrasia. The two have played together often on European Tour and were also pitted against each other in the singles at the 2016 EurAsia Cup in Malaysia.

S.S.P. Chawrasia of India

On the Indian side, the virtual who’s who of Indian golf will be present and that includes the two players who have accounted for the last three Hero Indian Open titles – Anirban Lahiri in 2015 and Chawrasia in 2016 and 2017. Also present is Siddikur Rahman winner in 2013.

All the five Indian winners on 2017 Asian and European Tours, Shiv Kapur (three titles in 2017), Chawrasia, Gaganjeet Bhullar, Ajeetesh Sandhu and Shubhankar are present in the field.

The field also includes the last three winners of the Asian Tour Habitat for Humanity Standings – Gavin Green (2017), Scott Hend (2016) and Lahiri (2015).

Ends.