European Tour

Clarke wary of Tiger influence

2015-11-25 10:57
Darren Clarke (AFP)

Sydney - European Ryder Cup captain Darren Clarke admitted on Wednesday Tiger Woods' selection as a vice-captain for 2016 is "massive" for the US team as the Americans try to prise back the coveted trophy.

The 14-time major winner and seven-time Ryder Cup team member, who is coming off two back operations, was appointed by US captain Davis Love last week, alongside Steve Stricker, Jim Furyk and Tom Lehman.

Woods has not said when he will return to competition, and could still make the team as a player.

Clarke, competing at the Australian Open in Sydney, said any involvement by Woods made the European job harder.

"I think with Tiger, and knowing him as well as I do, he will be massive for the team and he will be involved as he's shown us by accepting Davis' invitation, but then he will also be trying desperately to be playing on the team," he said.

"So certainly, Tiger's a great addition to Davis' side whether that be playing or behind the scenes as a vice-captain."

Next year's Ryder Cup will be played September 30-October 2 at Hazeltine in suburban Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The Americans lead the all-time rivalry 25-13 with two drawn but the Europeans have won three in a row, six of the past seven and eight of the past 10.

Clarke said he was in no hurry to name his own vice-captains.

"Choosing vice-captains is a tricky thing as the European team formula has always been that our vice-captains are prospective captains and guys still playing because those guys are still very, very good players," he said.

"So I am not going to be choosing vice-captains until I know really they are not going to qualify automatically for the team so I don't want to insult anybody.

"Therefore I will be leaving the issue of picking my vice-captains to Augusta next year to assess how some of the guys are doing so I will rather wait given one or two of them may have a great start to the New Year."

Lee Westwood, also playing in Sydney, has already expressed his interest in helping close friend Clarke, with Dane Thomas Bjorn also seen as in the running as a vice-captain.

Read more on:    darren clarke  |  golf


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