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Darren Clarke insists Sergio Garcia’s last-ditch attempt to play in the Ryder Cup showed just how much Team Europe means to him.

In a desperate effort to resurrect his Ryder Cup career in time for this year’s match, Garcia enquired about paying DP World Tour fines totalling up to £700,000 to make himself eligible for Luke Donald’s side.

Garcia, the contest’s all-time leading points scorer, had refused to pay the £100,000 fine he incurred for joining the LIV Golf League last year.

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However, according to the Telegraph, the Spaniard was ready to make a U-turn and settle all the outstanding fines with the former European Tour in a late bid to tee it up in Rome.

Those hopes were quickly dashed, though, when he was reminded by DP World Tour chiefs that his resignation from the circuit meant that there was no way back for this year’s match.

Garcia is arguably Europe’s greatest ever Ryder Cup player, amassing 28.5 points in ten appearances since his debut back in 1999.

And Clarke feels the 43-year-old’s fiery presence will be missed at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club.

“It is going to be very different without Sergio there,” Clarke, told bunkered.co.uk. “He’s been one of the main players in the European team for such a long time. Will he be missed in the team room? I guess he will be.

“Sergio has been a huge part of the European Ryder Cup team, as has Lee [Westwood] and Poults [Ian Poulter] over their career. The whole LIV situation – there is now potential for that to be resolved with the framework agreement.

“But at the same time this is the European Tour’s rules and regulations. They have to adhere to that. With him trying to get in, it shows just how much passion he has for the Ryder Cup.”

Asked whether Garcia should represent Europe again, Clarke replied: “It’s for the powers that be to decide, but Sergio has given a huge amount of his career to the Ryder Cup and the emotion he’s thrown into it. He’s like all the great Spanish players gone before.

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“He’s always been vocal and he’s always worn his heart on his sleeve. He wants to do all he can for Europe but that’s not going to happen this time, so some of the other guys are maybe going to have to bring that energy into the team room.”

While Garcia will not playing in Rome, the prospect of a peace deal between the PGA Tour, DP World Tour and the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund bankrolling the LIV Golf League has at least offered him hope that he could feature in the Ryder Cup in some capacity again in the future.

Clarke, meanwhile, has no such plans to return to the European locker room.

The 2011 Open champion has not been involved in the Ryder Cup since presiding over Europe’s 17-11 defeat at Hazeltine in 2016 and has confirmed he would reject any future calls to return as part of the blue-and-gold backroom staff.

“No, thank you,” he said. “I’ve played five, vice-captained twice, captained once. I’ve done my turn. There’s people more deserving than I do. I’ve tried my best in every one I’ve been involved in.

“We had some good times and we had some down times. Now I’m just going to be watching from home like a mad supporter. I’m quite happy being on the outside of it watching what goes on.”

Darren Clarke was speaking in association with BoyleSports, who offer the latest Ryder Cup odds.


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Ben Parsons joined bunkered as a Content Producer in 2023 and is the man to come to for all of the latest news, across both the professional and amateur games. Formerly of The Mirror and Press Association, he is a member at Halifax Golf Club and is a long-suffering fan of both Manchester United and the Wales rugby team.

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