Darren Clarke appreciates Tiger Woods backing his Ryder Cup captaincy
Tiger Woods would love to play against a Darren Clarke-led European Ryder Cup team in 2016 at Hazeltine, and the favorite to become Euro skipper next time around was pleased to receive the support for his captaincy from his old pal.
Woods recently added his name to a roster of some of the game’s best — including top-ranked Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell, Justin Rose, Lee Westwood, and Ian Poulter — who hope to see Clarke succeed Paul McGinley in two years.
“It’s true Darren and I go back a long way, all the way back to when both he and I were working with Butch [Harmon] and that’s back to around 2000, so I’ve known Darren a long time,” Woods, a member of the U.S. Ryder Cup task force formed to determine how to beat the Euros, told the Irish Examiner earlier this month. “If I make the 2016 U.S. Ryder Cup team, and that’s the goal, then I think it would be fun to be in a U.S. team with Darren as the rival European team captain because I’ve played with him and against him and we’ve always had a blast.”
Woods, sidelined with a back injury, watched from afar as the Euros walloped the Americans, 16.5-11.5, at Gleneagles in September. He has since reportedly taken a leading role in the PGA of America panel formed in the wake of the defeat and the firestorm of controversy it ignited.
Clarke, a playing member on five consecutive European Ryder Cup teams (1997-2006) as well as vice-captain in 2010 and 2012, appreciated Woods’ support. He said, however, that he was not actively campaigning for the job.
“Obviously, it’s something I would love to do,” Clarke said Wednesday ahead of the Asian Tour’s inaugural Dubai Open. “But it’s not something you petition for. My name was been put forward and I’m in the running for it. I would love to do it, but it’s up to the committee [that will choose the next captain] to decide.”
With the formalities out of the way, Clarke conceded that he welcomed the kind words from the 14-time major champion.
“With the best player in the world for a long time [saying] it would be a blast, that’s high praise,” Clarke said. “Tiger’s a good friend and we’ve known each other [a long time]. “But there are a few other guys up for it. Whoever the committee decides will be captain … I’m sure will be a great captain.”
As for whom captain Clarke might add to his inner circle, it probably would not be Woods.
“I think it might cause a bit of a stir if I asked him to be one of the vice-captains,” Clarke quipped, “so I think I’d better not.”