Shah Alam (Malaysia): Seasoned Indian golfer Jeev Milkha Singh will captain the Asian team against a Darren Clarke-led Europe in the EurAsia Cup presented by DRB-HICOM in Kuala Lumpur from January 15-17 next year.
Clarke and Singh have been friends for as long as they can remember, and they are relishing the opportunity to lead their continents to what would be a historic first victory at the EurAsia Cup, after an unforgettable 10-10 draw at the event's inaugural staging in 2014.
As they got together to help announce the January date and return to DRB-HICOM's Glenmarie Golf and Country Club for the second staging of the EurAsia Cup, where Clarke and Singh will be non-playing captains of 12-man teams, the pair quickly set the tone for what will be an intriguing rivalry.
"It's an honour to be offered the EurAsia Cup Captaincy and I am very excited by the prospect of leading what I hope will be a very strong Asian team. It is a special event ? I remember watching it two years ago and it was so exciting," Jeev said.
"I think it's going to be great for Asia and Europe. Golf is now a global sport so it's going to be a fantastic competition. I'm looking forward to going up against Darren ? I'm going to have a lot of fun with him," he added.
Clarke is equally excited about the tournament.
"We have known each other a very, very long time. We have played together on Tour for most of our careers, so we have played together for a very long time.
"Both teams that are assembled will be desperate to win the EurAsia Cup for the first time ? when we get to Kuala Lumpur Jeev will be trying to kick my butt and I will be trying to kick his. It's going to be a great week ? the guys are really looking forward to it already."
No matter the outcome of the second EurAsia Cup, which will see six four-ball matches and six foursomes matches played over the opening two days before 12, final day singles matches will determine the winner, the players of both Asia and Europe will be guided by two of golf's most respected competitors.
Jeev, a former double Asian Tour Number One who has won 20 times around the world including four European Tour victories, is India's most successful player.
Jeev is relishing every aspect of his captaincy of Asia's EurAsia Cup team and believes the Asian players are now more than ever capable of outplaying and out-fighting their European counterparts in team competition, with four Asian players qualifying for the Presidents Cup side to face the USA in Korea next month.
"There are so many world class Asian players," said Jeev.
"We have a lot of players in the Presidents Cup team this year which proves how good these guys are now. I want them to have fun and be positive and make sure the team spirit is there so we can try and achieve a great result.
"There will be a rivalry between the players ? it has to be there. But I think we will have our players ready. Everybody is trying to win out there and make the most out of it ? I think rivalry is what gets the best out of a player in many ways," he said.
"I think I will be a good Captain. I think mostly you have to let the guys get on with it but it is my job to keep them positive and patient and let them believe in themselves enough to achieve what they can.
"I just hope I can get a great team out there and keep them calm and collected and get the best out of them. Playing at home will be an advantage for us because our players are so used to the weather and conditions."