McIlroy backs Clarke for captain

2015-01-28 18:20
Rory McIlroy (AFP)

Dubai - Rory McIlroy wants fellow Northern Irishman Darren Clarke to captain Europe's Ryder Cup team in 2016 in what is shaping up to be a battle between the former British Open champion and Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez.

Europe will seek a fourth successive win against the United States in Minnesota and speculation is already rife as to who will lead the defending champions.

"I'm going to be a little biased - Darren is a good friend of mine and from Northern Ireland, so it would be great to see him get the captaincy, but if it was to be Miguel then I'd have no problems with that either," McIlroy told a news conference.

"They are going to have a tough decision," he added ahead of this week's Dubai Desert Classic.

On Tuesday, world number two Henrik Stenson and sixth-ranked Sergio Garcia, both team stalwarts, told reporters it would likely be a straight fight between Clarke and Jimenez over who will replace 2014 skipper Paul McGinley.

"I always thought Darren would be a perfect fit for captaincy in the States," said McIlroy.

"People love him over there and he'll do well, but people love Miguel anywhere he goes and the more he plays on the Champions Tour he's going to become more popular as well.

"They are both quality candidates and great players. As long as I'm on the team and they decide to play me I'm happy enough."

Spain's Jimenez, 51, is ranked 42 and played 25 events on the European Tour last year. Clarke, 46, is a less regular figure on the circuit.

McIlroy said he expected to be consulted by the five-man panel that will choose the captain, a decision that used to be made by the players. The committee includes former skippers McGinley, Jose Maria Olazabal and Colin Montgomerie.

World number one McIlroy will play in Thursday's Classic, having finished second at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship two weeks ago, a stroke ahead of Martin Kaymer who blamed overconfidence after he blew a 10-stroke final round lead.

McIlroy has suffered in similar circumstances, squandering a four-shot final day lead at the 2011 US Masters.

"It was the most important day of my career, bar none, because if I had not had that happen to me who knows where I would have been," added four-time major winner McIlroy.

"You learn way more from those days than from victories.

"Martin had such a big lead that I can see where you could get a little bit complacent."

Read more on:    rory mcilroy  |  golf


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights

Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


The 2018/19 Absa Premiership season is in full swing. Will Mamelodi Sundowns retain their title? Or can one of Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, Wits, SuperSport United - or another team perhaps - snatch glory from the Brazilians? Be sure to visit Sport24 for all the latest news!

Latest blogs

Which is your favourite event on the golfing calendar?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.