Clarke pulls out of Ryder Cup captaincy race

Darren Clarke
Darren Clarke

Darren Clarke has withdrawn from the race to secure the captaincy of Europe’s Ryder Cup team in 2014.

The Ulsterman, who won the British Open in 2011, confirmed on Tuesday he will not succeed Spaniard Jose Maria Olazabal in the role next year.

Clarke said: “I have been to see (Players Committee chairman) Thomas Bjorn and formally informed him I do not want to be considered for the Ryder Cup captaincy in 2014.

“It was not a spur-of-the-moment decision. I have been agonising over what to do since I showed a few glimpses of my old form in Thailand and Australia at the end of last year.”

Clarke’s withdrawal paves the way for previous Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie and Ireland’s Paul McGinley to lead Europe in 2014.

The Players Committee will meet in Abu Dhabi later on Tuesday to announce the new Ryder Cup captain.

Clarke had appeared to be a major contender for the captaincy until he hinted that he wanted another chance to play in the team for a sixth time after forming part of Europe’s Ryder Cup challenges between 1997-2006.

His fellow countryman, Rory McIlroy, reiterated on Tuesday his desire for Irishman McGinley to be given the chance to lead Europe at Gleneagles in Scotland next year.

“I have a very strong opinion about this,” said the 23-year-old world number one. “I really think Paul deserves it.

“He has been a great player and a great personality for the European Tour over the years. I also played under him at the Seve Trophy in 2009 and I thought he did a great job.

“From all the captains I’ve played under, I think he was the best.”

Olazabal led Europe to a remarkable comeback victory over the United States at the 2012 Ryder Cup in Illinois.