• "You have to be the favourites. You've had a task force," he said
• Said Lee Westwood isn't an automatic pick if he doesn't qualify
DARREN CLARKE | RYDER CUP
Darren Clarke heaped the pressure on the USA ahead of the Ryder Cup by saying he’s adamant they’re the favourites because of the task force.
Speaking ahead of the US PGA Championship, the 2011 Open champion also revealed Sam Torrance as his fifth and final vice-captain for the match at Hazeltine, and said that anything can happen when faced with 12 v 12 in a matchplay scenario.
"You have to be the favourites" - Darren Clarke
“You guys are the favourites,” said Darren Clarke. “You have to be the favourites, the Americans. You've had a task force. You've done everything that you've done, and rightly so. Davis has gone to great lengths to try and find a winning formula.
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“At the moment, with the teams as we stand right now at the moment, you'd have to say America would be favourites. But that's always if you're going to look off world rankings etc, invariably that's the case. But when you get there, it's 12 guys against 12 guys in matchplay, and anything can happen.”
Clarke also spoke glowingly of his relationship with Lee Westwood, who currently ranks one place outside of the automatic qualifying spots in the World Points List.
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Despite many people believing the Englishman is a shoe-in for a wildcard spot should he not make it automatically, Clarke dismissed that notion completely by saying he wouldn’t be afraid to make tough decisions.
“Just because Lee Westwood is probably my best friend out on tour, that does not come into any of my selection criteria whatsoever for who would be the best pick for the Ryder Cup.
“If Lee was further down the list, would I still consider him? Yes. If he's just outside the automatic spots, will I still consider him? Yes. But friendship has no place when it comes to wildcards, and that's part of the tough calls that the captain is going to have to make.
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“But the fact that he's almost in the team pleases me greatly because he's a European Ryder Cup stalwart. He's very, very experienced. He's been my partner in many, many Ryder Cups. I know what Lee Westwood brings to the table and I know what he brings to the backroom, and there's not many guys you'd prefer to go shoulder to shoulder with.”
Darren Clarke :: Do you agree?
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