Graeme McDowell: '(Miguel Angel Jimenez) is one of the most popular men in the sport and I think all the players will go the extra mile for him.' – AFP Photo
PETALING JAYA: Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell, who is ranked 15th in the world, feels that he is shaping up perfectly for the inaugural EurAsia Cup next week.
“My game feels pretty good right now. I took a lot of time off at the start of the year, so I have only played four events but the results have been encouraging,” said the 34-year-old.
“I have had three top-10 finishes and two of those were World Golf Championship’s, so I guess I should be proud of the way I’ve started the season.”
The EurAsia Cup, presented by DRB-Hicom, will see the Miguel Angel Jimenez-led Team Europe take on Thongchai Jaidee-led Team Asia in a Ryder-Cup style showdown at the Glenmarie Golf and Country Club from March 27-29.
McDowell won the Ballantine’s Championship in South Korea in 2008 and is looking forward to playing in Asia again.
“I’ve always loved playing in Asia, so it will be great to arrive in Malaysia for the EurAsia Cup,” said McDowell.
“I’m pretty sure the Glenmarie Golf and Country Club will be a little warmer than South Korea was ... hopefully, I can perform to a similar level.
“Our sport has undergone a real period of globalisation over the past 10 years or so and it’s great to be able to play around the world.”
The Ryder Cup veteran is excited to be working under Jimenez.
“The word ‘legend’ is often overused in sport and on Tour but there has never been a more fitting word to describe Miguel,” said McDowell.
“I think he will be a great captain. He is one of the most popular men in the sport and I think all the players will go the extra mile for him. He also has a lot of Ryder Cup experience as a vice-captain and I’m sure he will have learned a lot from that and will bring some fresh ideas to his captaincy.”
As a senior member of Team Europe, McDowell is aware that he and Denmark’s Thomas Bjorn may be called upon to guide the younger players.
”Obviously I have my own game to play and the first thing I need to do is win my points for the team. But, if Miguel is looking for the likes of myself and some of the other more experienced players like Bjorn to help with the younger players, I’d be more than happy to make myself available,” said the Northern Irishman.
“I remember making my Ryder Cup debut in 2008 and it’s always good to know that there are experienced players on hand to help you.”
The format of play for the EurAsia Cup will be five fourball matches on the first day (March 27), five foursomes matches on the second day (March 28) and 10 singles matches on the final day (March 29).
Asia: Thongchai Jaidee (Tha, capt), Kiradech Aphibarnrat (Tha), Gaganjeet Bhullar (Ind), Nicholas Fung (Mas), Kim Hyung-sung (Kor,) Anirban Lahiri (Ind), Prayad Marksaeng (Tha), Koumei Oda (Jpn), Siddikur Rahman (Ban), Hideto Tanihara (Jpn).
Europe: Miguel Angel Jimenez (Spa, capt), Thomas Bjorn (Den), Jamie Donaldson (Wal), Victor Dubuisson (Fra), Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (Spa), Stephen Gallacher (Sco), Pablo Larrazabal (Spa), Joost Luiten (Ned), Graeme McDowell (Nir), Thorbjorn Olesen (Den).