Clarke expecting another tight EurAsia Cup


Darren Clarke will have the opportunity to get matchplay captaincy practice ahead of the Ryder Cup at the EurAsia Cup, which he believes is too close to call.

Clarke will lead Europe in the Ryder Cup at Hazeltine later this year as they attempt to win the competition for a fourth straight time.

But the Northern Irishman's immediate focus is on the second edition of the EurAsia Cup, which starts on Friday at the Glenmarie Golf and Country Club in Malaysia.

The inaugural tournament ended in a 10-10 tie and Clarke, whose team boasts the likes of Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter, Danny Willett and Shane Lowry, expects another tight contest.

"We are playing in the Asian team's backyard, so they are a bit more used to the heat and humidity than we are, which may give them a bit of an advantage," Clarke said.

"When the humidity comes with this sort of heat, it is quite oppressive. And it probably feels even hotter than the last time we were here. But with the co-sanctioned events we have in Asia, the Europeans do have experience playing here.

"So it's too close to call, and I think there's a pretty good chance it could end in another draw. You have two very strong teams, and because it's matchplay anything could happen.

"Hopefully it will be every bit as exciting as last time. Although I don't know how our nerves will be at the end of the week."

Europe are the heavy favourites to win the trophy, but Asia skipper Jeev Milkha Singh has faith in his unfancied team to pull off a surprise victory.

"I believe in our players," Singh said. "I know that all of them have the experience. They are used to the weather. They have played in Asia many times, and they play these kind of courses all the time.

"So I just basically have to make sure they are comfortable, happy, and relaxed. When all of these things are given to him, that's when a player plays his best.

"And I don't even have to tell them to try their best, because I know they are all going to give 100 per cent."