Clarke: Ryder Cup will be played in right spirit

Europe’s Ryder Cup captain Darren Clarke says there will be no controversial gamesmanship at next year’s competition following the uproar at the women’s Solheim Cup.

Clarke said the incident at the Solheim Cup, when Europe’s Suzann Pettersen insisted on penalising the USA’s Alison Lee for picking up her ball after she believed a putt had been conceded, was against the spirit of golf.

Speaking at a news conference with USA captain Davis Love III to mark a year to go to the Ryder Cup at Hazeltine, Minnesota, Clarke said: “This Ryder Cup will be played in the manner in which Davis and I respect each other.

“We’ve been friends for such a long time; I hold Davis in the highest regard. He’s been a good friend but probably one of the best gentlemen in our sport.

“The Solheim Cup was an unfortunate thing. What Suzann did was correct in ‘The Rules of Golf’, but in the spirit of the game, it was wrong. And she admitted that on the Monday with hindsight. Hindsight is always a wonderful thing.

“In the Ryder Cup, we are always briefed by the referees earlier in the week and the rules officials, and we do not touch a golf ball until we hear either from our opposite number or from the referees, just one of those things. I hope and I’m sure it won’t happen under our watch.”

Love agreed that sportsmanship would be key. He said: “Darren and I will set the tone with our teams, and with our messaging over the next year, what we expect and how we expect the matches to be played.

“Something will come up during the three days that is uncomfortable. But we’ll handle it as gentlemen and a sportsmanlike way.

“In the end, one of us will win, one of us will lose, but we’ll enjoy a cigar and a tear afterwards on Sunday night.” Love said he was reluctantly facing the fact he would not be a playing captain, and said he hoped Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson could be back in contention.

“Tiger has had some surgeries and that’s slowing him down a little bit. I have a feeling Phil’s going to be strongly motivated to make the next team, and obviously Tiger wants to get healthy and play. They are just two of a lot of players that have stressed to me that they want to play on a winning Ryder Cup team,” he said.


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