G-Mac gives Clarke the nod

Darren Clarke

Graeme McDowell has become the latest player to call for Darren Clarke to be handed the 2016 European Ryder Cup captaincy.

Earlier this week Pádraig Harrington declared “Darren deserves it given he’s done so much for European golf’.”

And McDowell believes Clarke would be the perfect candidate to follow in the footsteps of Paul McGinley for Europe’s defence at Hazeltine, Minnesota.

Clarke’s credentials are impressive, having been on four of five victorious Ryder Cup teams between 1997 and 2006, while he was vice-captain in 2010 and 2012.

“I’m also backing Darren for the 2016 European captaincy and he’s an obvious pick,” said McDowell.

“I have been speaking to Thomas (Bjorn) about 2016 but he’s of the opinion he can still make the team, and besides it seems maybe Thomas sees himself a candidate for 2018 in France.

“There’s also Miguel (Angel Jimenez) who would have to be considered but I believe Darren’s got the credentials. Unlike past years Europe seems now to have this clear window for 2016 as far as selecting Darren is concerned. But for 2018 and beyond you have players stacking up with the likes of Bjorn, Miguel, Harrington and Westwood in the mix for consideration.

“And, as for 2018, Pádraig’s credentials would suggest he’s the guy to replace Darren and, if so, that would be three Irish-born captains in a row which would be unbelievable. Then you’ve got candidates like Poults, Luke Donald, Sergio, Rosie and my good self in the mix in the mid to late 2020s.”

The 2016 Ryder Cup captain will be decided by a new look voting panel consisting of the past three captains in Colin Montgomerie, Jose Maria Olazabal and Paul McGinley, along with Tour CEO George O’Grady and Players Committee representative David Howell. The decision will be made in January during the course of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

McDowell was commenting after posting a 69 to move to eight under par and tied with Shane Lowry, who added a 66, after two rounds of the BMW Masters in Shanghai.


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