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Home » Sport » Golf

Darren Clarke named as Europe’s captain

Darren Clarke has been confirmed as Europe’s Ryder Cup captain for next year’s meeting with the United States at Hazeltine.

Clarke, who was the overwhelming favourite to take on the post, was voted upon by a five-man selection panel, which met at Wentworth from 10am on Wednesday. The 46-year-old, who won the Open Championship in 2011, will prove a popular choice with Europe’s players; many of whom had publicly backed his candidature. Although anxious not to be seen as campaigning, Clarke had set his sights on leading Europe for some time.

Miguel Ángel Jiménez and Thomas Bjorn were the only two threats to Clarke being voted in by a committee which consisted of Paul McGinley, David Howell, George O’Grady, Colin Montgomerie and Jose Maria Olazabal.

Of that duo, Jiménez held the greater appeal but, barring a push for a captain from continental Europe, Clarke always stood out as the most viable choice.

The Spaniard may yet be handed the captaincy for the 2018 playing of the Ryder Cup in France, where a deviation away from a British or Irish golfer would seem logical.

Clarke represented Europe in five successive Ryder Cups from 1997. The most notable of them arrived in 2006, when the Northern Irishman appeared as one of Ian Woosnam’s wildcards just six weeks after the death of his wife, Heather. Clarke was embraced by the entire European team at the end of an emotionally-charged occasion.

Clarke, who is currently in South Africa, is expected to be formally unveiled by the European Tour at a ceremony next month. The United States are reportedly close to appointing Davis Love III for a second stint as their captain.

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