Ryder Cup: Rory McIlroy says Darren Clarke is the 'perfect' man to captain Europe in 2016
Last Updated: 01/10/14 3:38pm
Rory McIlroy says Darren Clarke is the “perfect” man to captain Europe at the next Ryder Cup in 2016.
Clarke, 46, is the odds-on favourite to lead the European side at Hazeltine and he has already received the public backing of the likes of Lee Westwood and Graeme McDowell.
McIlroy believes his fellow Northern Irishman would be a good choice to succeed Paul McGinley and he has also revealed he has captaincy ambitions of his own, although not for a long time yet.
He said: “Obviously there have been a few names thrown about there, but I have said with a Ryder Cup being in America, I feel that Darren Clarke would be the perfect man to lead the team there, just because he has such a great reputation in the States.
“The fans really love him there and he has got a good rapport with everyone. I think he would be the right man to do it next time at Hazeltine.”
The world No 1 added: “One day when the time is right I would love to be able to captain the European team and try and lead them to victory and if I do I will take a lot out of the way Paul captained the team last week.
“I know Paul took a lot out of the way Bernhard Langer captained the team in 2004 and he always had a lot of admiration for the way he did it.
“Yes, one day. It might be 20-25 years away from now but it would be great to do. It would be a great honour.”
McIlroy was out of sorts on the opening day of last week's Ryder Cup at Gleneagles, but he improved with each match and he and Justin Rose were the only European players to feature in all five sessions.
He saved his best for Sunday's single, when he was a projected eight under par for 14 holes in a 5&4 thrashing of good friend Rickie Fowler in a performance that earned high praise from Jack Nicklaus.
The 18-time major winner described McIlroy's display as being worthy of a world No 1, and McIlroy added that being top of the world rankings inspired him to "step up and set an example".
"I felt a difference," said McIlroy, who was also ranked number one at Medinah in 2012 but slipped down the rankings in 2013. "I felt it was time for me to step up and be one of the leaders of the team, especially after the season I've had and being world number one.
"I needed to go out there and set an example and I'm just happy I was able to do that on Sunday. Personally my record in the Ryder Cup is important to me. In three Ryder Cups I haven't been beaten in the singles, I would love to keep that record going throughout my career.
"At the age of 25, to have won four majors and three Ryder Cups nine years younger than anyone else (Tom Watson was 34 when he did it), it is something I am very proud of.
"Paul (McGinley) has been involved in six Ryder Cups and is going to retire unbeaten. I don't think I will be able to emulate that at the end of the career. I would love to, but I am sure it won't all go our way in the next 20 years."
Meanwhile, McIlroy will be back in action straight away in this week's Alfred Dunhill Links Championship played over the Old Course at St Andrews, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns, and he has extra motivation to win it for the first time.
"It's a tournament that I have played well at but never been able to win," said McIlroy, whose amateur partner in the popular pro-am event is his father Gerry. "I finished third in 2007 (enough to gain his European Tour card in his second event as a professional), second in 2009 and second again in 2011.
"I've been close so it would be nice to win, especially as it's my dad's 55th birthday on Sunday. If we can make the cut in the team event and be able to walk around St Andrews on his birthday and me have a chance to win the tournament as well, it would be very special."
Live coverage of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship begins on Thursday at 1pm on Sky Sports 4.