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The Ryder Cup might feel a long way off, but preparations for September are about to get underway in Abu Dhabi.

The Hero Cup, which was unveiled back in September 2022, is designed to give the European Ryder Cup team a chance to get acquainted with each other and, ultimately, help captain Luke Donald pick his team.

The format this week is designed to be similar to that of the Ryder Cup. On Friday, there’s a session of fourballs, on Saturday there’s two sessions of alternate shot foursomes, and on Sunday it’s the final session of singles, with every player playing in every session.

Out of the 20 players teeing it up, only six have played a Ryder Cup before. They include playing captains, Tommy Fleetwood and Francesco Molinari. If you’re a rookie and make a good impression here, it might well stand you in good stead.

It will be GB&I against Continental Europe across the Abu Dhabi Golf Club layout, which was previously the host to the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship. Tyrrell Hatton most recently won there in 2021. 

Here’s the lowdown on what you can expect this week.

Hero Cup teams

Each team features ten players, with three from each having Ryder Cup experience. On the Continental Europe side they are Francesco Molinari, Thomas Pieters and Alex Noren. There’s a late change to the line-up for the continental Europeans, with Rasmus Højgaard replaced by his twin brother, Nicolai.

For the GB&I team, Tommy Fleetwood, Shane Lowry and Tyrrell Hatton all have Ryder Cup appearances to their name. There’s also two Scots on Tommy Fleetwood’s team in the form of Robert MacIntyre and Ewen Ferguson.

Here’s the teams in full, not accounting for the late change:

Hero Cup betting odds 

Currently, the bookies have the event priced as follows:

GB&I: 11/13

Continental Europe: 13/10

Draw: 12/1 

As you’ll see, GB&I are slight favourites, and rightly so. They have the more experienced team, but you can expect it to be a close match. Also, it’s unlikely to be that fiercely contested. The outcome isn’t the most important thing this week.

Hero Cup how to watch

The Hero Cup takes place over Friday to Sunday, and if you’re in the area, you can get free entry to the action. If you’re in the UK however, here’s when to watch on Sky Sports Golf:

Friday: 8am

Saturday: 7am

Sunday: 6.30am

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Lewis Fraser As bunkered’s Performance Editor, Lewis oversees the content that’s designed to make you a better player. From the latest gear to tuition, nutrition, strategy and more, he’s the man. A graduate of the University of Stirling, Lewis joined bunkered in 2021. Formerly a caddie at Castle Stuart Golf Links, he is a member of Bathgate Golf Club where he plays off four.

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