“It’s definitely been one of the best weeks of my career. I’ve loved every minute of it. All the lads have been great, Darren [Clarke] has been great, and the team room has been the best craic ever. When I look back on my career, it’s one of the weeks I’ll always remember.”
Thus spoke Shane Lowry on what the EURASIA CUP presented by DRB-HICOM had meant to him and his 11 team-mates in the wake of Europe’s resounding victory over their Asian counterparts at Glenmarie Golf & Country Club last week.
Given their sunny dispositions, it was little surprise that Lowry struck up a formidable partnership with Andy Sullivan over the first two days of competition, and their obvious sense of joy and camaraderie perfectly encapsulated the ethos of a tournament which, whilst still in its infancy, continues to grow in stature.
Players and spectators alike were given even more reasons to be cheerful during the prize giving when, in light of the success of the second staging, the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dato Sri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak, announced that the third edition of the EURASIA CUP would return to the country in 2018.
Thus, the vanquished Asian team now have two years to plot their revenge, and Captain Jeev Milkha Singh pinpointed the areas he feels need to be addressed in order to bridge the gap between the two Continents.
Singh said: “I think we need to follow the same process as The European Tour – we’ve seen for years now that Europe are the best team in the world in match play. They start their preparations two years before any team event, and I think we need to do exactly the same. We need to put a system in place to make sure that the team is as ready and as well-prepared as the Europeans are.
“The EURASIA CUP is a fantastic event that brings together 24 of the finest golfers from Asia and Europe to compete in head-to-head matches, which is enthralling to watch. I also thoroughly enjoyed the experience of captaining Team Asia, which was a great honour for me. The EURASIA CIP has a great future with both the Asian and European Tours fully committed to the tournament, and it was also great to hear the Malaysian Prime Minister committing to hosting the event in Malaysia again in 2018.”
As for Singh’s opposite number Darren Clarke, the week could hardly have gone any better and the Ulsterman believes the EURASIA CUP has provided the perfect preparations – both personally and collectively – ahead of the challenge which lies in wait at Hazeltine National in September.
Clarke admitted the final 18½-5½ scoreline probably flattered Europe, but felt that the wealth of match play and team event experience his side could call on – particularly his two wildcard picks, Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood – may ultimately have proved pivotal.
He said: “I think when you grow up playing a lot of match play, as we do in Europe, you learn the art from an early age. All these guys have learnt the art of the game, and I’m sure a few of the younger guys have picked up some of the finer points of the game this week. You only learn through playing more and more match play events.
“This past week was match play at the highest level. The margins are so fine, so you’ve got to really understand what you need to do to win. You’ve got to look your opponent in the eye and play better than him, and my guys up know how to do that. They were all brilliant, and it was a brilliant week. I couldn’t have asked for any more from them, and from the tournament. It was fantastic from start to finish, and it’s whetted my appetite even more for the Ryder Cup.”
Meanwhile, Byeonghun An, who claimed the 2015 BMW PGA Championship en route to winning the Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year award, cited the experience as the highlight of his burgeoning career.
He said: “Overall, it was probably the best experience I’ve had in my career. I love playing team events. It’s just so fun. Unfortunately we lost, but I still enjoyed it and I’m sure everyone else did.
“We definitely had a desire to win in the team room. We just didn’t get the breaks. But in two years’ time, hopefully it will go our way.”