Europe’s Ry­der Cup cap­tain Bjorn plans to run rule in Abu Dhabi

The National - News - - SPORT -

Europe’s 2018 Ry­der Cup cap­tain Thomas Bjorn is among the lat­est names to be con­firmed for Jan­uary’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Cham­pi­onship pre­sented by EGA.

The Dane, while look­ing to chal­lenge for vic­tory at the Euro­pean Tour event at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, said that he will be us­ing his time at the tour­na­ment be­tween Jan­uary 18-21 to look at his ri­vals and their re­spec­tive form as he starts to build up a plan for the 42nd stag­ing of the Ry­der Cup in Septem­ber in France.

“I can’t wait to get the year started,” a read state­ment from Bjorn, 46. “It’s go­ing to be a mas­sive year, so how we start at the cham­pi­onship in Abu Dhabi could help set the tone for the re­main­der of 2018.

“I’ll not only be work­ing on my own game, but I’ll be keenly watch­ing how our Euro­pean play­ers get on against what is, once again, a world class field.”

Also con­firm­ing their en­try are Graeme McDow­ell and Ian Poul­ter.

De­spite a quiet 2017, McDow­ell, the 2010 US Open cham­pion, is rar­ing to get things go­ing next year and re­cently an­nounced that he has put to­gether a five-year plan to re­vive his game.

“Af­ter a very pos­i­tive end to my 2017 sea­son and some hard work ahead over the Christ­mas break, I’m look­ing for­ward to start­ing my 2018 sea­son again in Abu Dhabi,” the North­ern Ir­ish­man said.

Poul­ter’s 2017 cam­paign was best de­scribed as be­ing mixed.

He al­most lost his PGA Tour card ear­lier in the year, but then went on to dra­mat­i­cally turn his for­tunes around fin­ish­ing with a top-60 fin­ish in the 2017 FedEx Cup.

“Every­body knows 2018 is go­ing to be mas­sive,” Poul­ter said.

“I want to get out of the block quickly and set the tone for my sea­son.

“My main goal for the year is ob­vi­ously to make the Ry­der Cup team and I’m go­ing to be work­ing ex­tremely hard to reach that goal – and it all starts in Abu Dhabi.”

The trio join an al­ready strong field for the 13th stag­ing of the tour­na­ment.

De­fend­ing cham­pion and 2017 Euro­pean Tour prize money win­ner Tommy Fleet­wood is back to try and de­fend his crown, as will be 2016 British Open cham­pion Hen­rik Sten­son.

Two-time Abu Dhabi cham­pion Paul Casey and Amer­i­can Matt Kuchar will also be par­tic­i­pat­ing.

Getty

Thomas Bjorn is ex­cited to be get­ting the sea­son un­der way in Abu Dhabi as he builds a plan for Septem­ber’s Ry­der Cup in France

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