Clarke tipped to spearhead Europe in 2014

Europe's Paul Lawrie and Darren Clarke at the Ryder Cup
Europe's Paul Lawrie and Darren Clarke at the Ryder Cup

Ulster’s Darren Clarke and Paul McGinley, two of Jose Maria Olazabal’s assistants as Europe amazingly retained the Ryder Cup from 10-4 down, are seen as the two leading candidates to take over from the Spaniard for the 2014 match at Gleneagles.

The European Tour’s tournament committee chaired by Dane Thomas Bjorn, another of the vice-captains in Chicago, will be expected to make a decision in January.

And Rory McIlroy believes that whoever is chosen “will be a great captain”, but added: “I’ve always said I think Clarkey would be a great captain here in America.

“I think the crowds really love him, so maybe save Darren for 2016.”

McIlroy played under McGinley’s captaincy at the 2009 Seve Trophy in Paris and commented: “He was fantastic there and has also been a fantastic vice-captain.”

Olazabal also called on compatriot Miguel Angel Jimenez at Medinah and McIlroy stated: “They are all different and all have their own opinions, but collectively they are very knowledgeable.”

The Americans are likely to name their successor to Davis Love in December and there are bound to be calls for successful Presidents Cup captain Fred Couples to step up from being an assistant this time.

Local fans have already started a campaign on social network, Twitter, calling for Clarke to lead Europe in 2014, under the tag #clarkeforcaptain.

McIlroy, meanwhile, shudders to think what the reaction would have been if he had missed the Ryder Cup singles and Europe had lost by a point - both of which nearly happened.

Instead the world number one, given a police escort from the team hotel after believing he was teeing off an hour later on the final day than he actually was, was able to celebrate arguably the greatest ever victory in the history of the event.

“I don’t want to imagine what it would have been like if we’d lost by a point and I’m glad that I’m not - but of course it crossed my mind,” McIlroy said.