Miguel Angel Jimenez has expressed his disappointment at missing out on the Ryder Cup captaincy for 2016 and hinted his chance of the job may have gone.
European Tour chief executive George O’Grady, who was on the panel, said Jimenez and Bjorn remained viable candidates for the captaincy in the future, but Jimenez will be well outside the age profile for recent European captains by the time of the 2018 contest.
Clarke will be 48 at Hazeltine next year, while Paul McGinley was 47 at Gleneagles and Jose Maria Olazabal 46 at Medinah. Jimenez will be 54 at Paris National, while Bjorn will be 47. The likes of Padraig Harrington and Lee Westwood could also be candidates in 2018.
“I am very happy for Darren,” Jimenez said after his opening round in the Hero Indian Open. “He deserves to be the Ryder Cup captain as much as I do.
“I would love to do it one day but I am happy for Darren because he has done a lot for the Tour as well. I sent him a text last night just to say well done and that I know he will do a great job. I didn’t call him because I knew he would be very busy but I wanted to say well done and that if he needs anything from me when he is captain then all he has to do is call me.
“To me the Ryder Cup is very important and I will always want to be involved in it in some way. I suppose the best way for me to be involved is by taking my clubs. You never know – maybe you will see me at the next one with my clubs.”
Jimenez added in a television interview on Sky Sports 4: “It’s disappointing a little bit. (I’ve) been there for so many years on Tour, this is my 27th season, played several Ryder Cups and been vice-captain in some other ones.
“I make a lot from the Tour all these years and I think it’s a little disappointing not to be captain, but I feel happy on the other hand for Darren because Darren will do a very good job.”
Former Open champion Clarke
World number one Rory McIlroy, former US Open champion Graeme McDowell and Lee Westwood were among the players from last year’s successful team at Gleneagles to have voiced their support for Clarke.
“(It was) hugely important,” Clarke, 46, said. “A lot of people came out in support of me, which is very flattering. Most of the guys have been on the previous team, they are nearly all good friends anyway.
“They have known me and I’ve played with them for many years on Tour – maybe Rory not so many years on Tour, he’s not out there that long but I’ve known him for a long time.
“I know all the guys really well. I’d like to consider them all friends of mine and so that makes things a little bit easier. But certainly to have them coming out and supporting me was very special.”