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
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
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
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
"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.