Doubts over Darren Clarke as Ryder Cup captain after comments in Durban
Darren Clarke has indicated again that he may not be the next European Ryder Cup captain in 2014 at Gleneagles.
By Paul Higham Twitter: @SkySportsPaulH
Last Updated: 11/01/13 7:49pm
Clarke has been the bookies' favourite for the role for some time, with it looking like being a two-horse race between him and Paul McGinley for the chance to defend the trophy won so incredibly by Jose Maria Olazabal's team in Chicago.
However, the name of Colin Montgomerie has now been thrown right into the mix, with America unveiling former captain Tom Watson as their leader again throwing a big curve ball to the Europeans who will name the new skipper in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.
2011 Open champion Clarke would still love to lead Europe in a Ryder Cup, but he admits that it would be difficult to take the job this time around due to his desire to keep playing at the highest level.
Clarke's Open win at Royal St George's has given him an exemption in the majors, while improved form at the end of 2012 gave him hope of still being able to make the team for Gleneagles - but he would have to essentially give up that dream if he took the captaincy.
"As much as I would dearly love to be captain, this may not be my time," said Clarke in Durban, where he had earlier questioned whether he whether being captain this time around would be something he wanted.
"I am exempt for another three years and if I was given the opportunity to do the captaincy, I'd effectively be throwing two of those years away.
"I played my best golf for about 18 months towards the end of last year. If they asked me to do it in Gleneagles it would be a difficult decision."
Although not pulling out of the race, Clarke is sure to have made his feelings known, and many had pegged him for the captaincy back in America in 2016 at Hazeltine.
McGinley then would seem to be leading the race but 2010 captain and Ryder Cup stalwart Montgomerie now also seems to be in with a chance, with the European selection committee not adverse to following the Americans and appointing a former captain to rival Watson.
"I don't have a strong view against appointing somebody twice," said committee chairman Thomas Bjorn. "But there are a lot of other people I think could do a very good job."