Darren Clarke announced as new Europe Ryder Cup captain for 2016
Northern Irishman Darren Clarke has been announced as the new Europe Ryder Cup captain for the 2016 event in Hazeltine, Minesota, replacing successful skipper at Gleneagles in 2014 (by five points) Paul McGinley. He is odds-on at 4/6 to help them lift the trophy again, and evens to win outright.
The 2011 Open champion was picked ahead of the likes of Spaniard Miguel Angel Jiminez and Thomas Bjorn for the position. Both Clarke and Jiminez, 51, have been vice-captains at Ryder Cups before, with the former doing so at Medinah in 2012 and Celtic Manor in 2010, where Europe were also successful.
On being appointed, Clarke said: “I am naturally extremely proud to be selected as European Ryder Cup captain for 2016. The Ryder Cup has been a massive part of my life and my career, so to have the chance to lead Europe next year is a huge honour.
“I am lucky to have played and worked under some fantastic captains in my seven Ryder Cups to date, and I look forward to the challenge of trying to follow in their footsteps and help Europe to a fourth consecutive Ryder Cup victory at Hazeltine next year.”
Clarke’s compatriot, Rory McIlroy, was diplomatic with his comments prior to the decision, made by a five-man committee, that included previous skippers McGinley, Jose Maria Olazabal and Colin Montgomerie.
“I’m going to be a little biased, Darren is a good friend of mine and from Northern Ireland, so it would be great to see him get the captaincy, but if it was to be Miguel then I’d have no problems with that either,” the world number one, who claimed three points at Gleneagles, said.
“I always thought Darren would be a perfect fit for captaincy in the States. People love him over there and he’ll do well, but people love Miguel anywhere he goes and the more he plays on the Champions Tour he’s going to become more popular as well.
“They are both quality candidates and great players. As long as I’m on the team and they decide to play me I’m happy enough.”
Europe have been dominant in the Ryder Cup in recent years, winning the last three, and 11 of the previous 15, and Clarke, who has played in five in total, will be hoping to avoid a first loss since 2008, which was held at Valhalla, USA.
Watch the winning moment from the 2014 edition…