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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 25 June 2018

Europe's Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn plans to run rule over prospective players in Abu Dhabi

The Dane will compete at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship presented by EGA on January 18-21.

Europe's Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn will compete in January in Abu Dhabi. Francois Mori / AP Photo
Europe's Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn will compete in January in Abu Dhabi. Francois Mori / AP Photo

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, admits 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.

Bjorn, 46, said in a statement on Saturday: “I can’t wait to get the year started. 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.

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

The Northern Irishman said: “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."

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.