Tournament: Hero Cup
Venue: Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Khalifa City, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Hashtag: #HeroCup #DPWT

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – JANUARY 11: Alex Noren of Sweden and Thomas Pieters of Belgium walk together during a practice round 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)

Great Britain and Ireland Captain Tommy Fleetwood will lead from the front after deciding to join Shane Lowry in the opening fourballs match against Continental Europe’s Alex Noren and Thomas Pieters at the Hero Cup.

The line-up for the opening session of fourball matches were confirmed at a Pairings Ceremony at Abu Dhabi Golf Club and both teams have opted for experience in the first match of the inaugural event.

Belgium’s Thomas Detry and Frenchman Antoine Rozner will represent Team Continental Europe in the second match of the day, with English duo Tyrrell Hatton and Jordan Smith their opponents.

Match Three will pit France’s Victor Perez and three-time DP World Tour winner Guido Migliozzi against another all-English pair in Callum Shinkwin and Matt Wallace, before Continental Europe Captain Francesco Molinari teams up with Denmark’s Nicolai Højgaard against Scot Ewen Ferguson and Richard Mansell, of England.

The only fourballs session of the week will conclude with a mixture of proven winners on both the DP World Tour and the PGA TOUR, as Austria’s Sepp Straka and Poland’s Adrian Meronk face Irishman Séamus Power and Scotland’s Robert MacIntyre.

The Hero Cup will see all 20 players tee it up in all four sessions, with two foursomes sessions taking place on Saturday and the final ten singles matches concluding the event on Sunday. The pairings for the opening foursomes session on day two will be announced following the conclusion of Friday’s play.

The second G4D Tour event of the season, The G4D Tour @ Hero Cup, will also get under way on Friday as ten of the world’s best Golfers with a Disability tee it up at Abu Dhabi Golf Club prior to the commencement of the fourballs matches.

To download the full draw for Friday’s fourballs matches, please click here

Player quotes

Francesco Molinari:
“I think there are some great matches. We’ve been saying all week, there are two very talented teams and there will be some exciting golf played in the next few days.

“Nicolai is a great player and I like to play with great players, like Tommy. We’ve got guys who are easy to pair up. We might mix it up in the next few days a bit but I think his is the best way to start tomorrow.”

Tommy Fleetwood: “We’ve loaded up all the way through really. We have a great team but there are no easy matches. That’s a great team as well but I feel very confident in my guys, like we all do. It’s great to see the pairings finally out and I’m looking forward to seeing what’s going to happen.

“I concentrated on our guys but it’s worked out really well. I think the matches look great.”

Shane Lowry: “I’m probably one of the most competitive people you’ll meet. So I’m okay with it – I’ll make enemies for 18 holes, no problem. We’re all going to be out there trying to beat each other up a little bit and be very competitive against each other. We all want to win. We are all competitive players.

“We all want this a lot, even though there’s a lot of Ryder Cup chat this week, I feel like as a team we really want to win this week and I’m looking forward to being part of the GB&I Team and looking forward to winning the tournament.”

Robert MacIntyre: “Match play is a good, fun format but more important, I’m getting to play with guys I’ve looked up to and guys that I’ve grown up beside as well. It’s just going to be brilliant. Hopefully we can have a good, fun event and play well.

“It’s a dog-eat-dog mentality you’ve got to have out there. If you’re playing well, it’s good. If you’re not playing well, then it’s not so good. But you know what, just go out there and have fun and try and play your best golf and just never give up.”

“This week it will be the enemy, it’s kind of put the friendship to the side for a week and just come next week, we’ll chat and sit down. But no, this week is all business.”

Alex Noren: “I love it. I used to love it also back in amateur golf, then when you play against other countries, and it was like then it was for real. You really wanted to beat them.

“Now you know the players more, which it’s very nice of course but it’s maybe not the same, like I wouldn’t say hate, is a strong word. But you know when you play amateur golf, it’s different. You just wanted to beat the other countries.

“Now you want to play well and you know the whole circuit, like how you just need to play well and after the game, you’re friends. It’s a little different.”

Victor Perez: “Being in the team environment, we are very fortunate at the start of the season. After a long break, it’s always difficult, you come out, just incredible people feel rusty. You’ve been training but you haven’t been competing so it’s like the best of both worlds.

“You want to compete. You want to win. But you’re in a setting against twenty guys or ten guys on each side where you’re able to compete and get those competitive juices back on before the season starts, so it’s great.

“It’s competitive, relaxed I think is the best way to put it. Both sides know that we are fortunate to be here. We have earned our qualification but at the same time it’s not like life or death like a Ryder Cup might feel and there’s maybe not as much hatred towards the other side. But equally, we are all competitors and when the bell is going to ring tomorrow, I think everybody is going to be ready to go.”