Darren Clarke 'almost certain' to lead Europe

2015 01 Darren Clarke
• Northern Irishman looks set to succeed Paul McGinley
• Decision expected next month, says The Telegraph
• Miguel Angel Jimenez and Thomas Bjorn also in frame


Darren Clarke is ‘almost certain’ to be named the European captain for the 2016 Ryder Cup match at Hazeltine.

A report in The Telegraph has suggested that the former Open champion will officially be announced as Paul McGinley’s successor next month.

That announcement will follow a meeting of a five-man panel comprising McGinley and his two immediate predecessors, Jose Maria Olazabal and Colin Montgomerie, as well as European Tour chief George O’Grady and two-time Ryder Cup player David Howell.

Originally intended to take place during the ‘Desert Swing’ series of tournaments in the Gulf, The Telegraph is reporting that has been put back until the middle of February to ensure that all members of the panel can discuss the new captain’s identity in person.

Clarke, 46, is the bookmakers’ favourite for the job, with Miguel Angel Jimenez and Thomas Bjorn widely considered to be the two other main contenders.

A 14-time winner on the European Tour, Darren Clarke played on five consecutive Ryder Cup teams between 1997 and 2006, winning on four occasions. He was also one of Colin Montgomerie’s non-playing assistants in 2010.
“It’s very important for me to get a good understanding of where everybody stands on the candidates for the role." - Paul McGinley on choosing his successor

The decision to put a five-man panel in charge of selecting the new captain follows the politicking that almost overshadowed McGinley’s appointment in Abu Dhabi two years ago.

The long-standing favourite for the job, McGinley was first pitted against Clarke and then Montgomerie before finally getting the nod.

Speaking to Sky Sports News, McGinley said that, whilst the decision about who will succeed him will rest in the hands of a five-man panel, those with the power to choose will consult with current players before coming to their conclusion.

“As part of the decision-making process, I see my job as collecting information and views from various people,” said the mastermind of the victory at Gleneagles last September. “It’s not just the players, but others who have been involved in the Ryder Cup.

“It’s very important for me to get a good understanding of where everybody stands on the candidates for the role, and we’ll appoint the person we think can continue the European success of recent years.”

The PGA of America, meanwhile, is believed to be no closer to naming its new captain to succeed Tom Watson, although Fred Couples is being widely tipped for the role.

Darren Clarke :: The right man to lead?

Do you think Darren Clarke should be picked to captain the European team for the 2016 Ryder Cup match, or is there someone better for the role? Leave your thoughts in our ‘Comments’ section below.

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