Europe appoint Clarke captain

First round action from the Aberdeen Scottish Open

The Northern Irishman was the odds-on favourite to be appointed having been a vice-captain during recent victories at Medinah and Celtic Manor.

Miguel Angel Jimenez was the former Open champion’s main rival for the captaincy, having assisted Europe on three occasions during his lengthy career.

A five-man committee, which included last year???s winning captain Paul McGinley and recent skippers Jose Maria Olazabal and Colin Montgomerie, met at Wentworth to vote on who will lead Europe at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Minnesota next autumn.

European Tour chief executive George O???Grady and players representative David Howell completed the line-up, as Europe looked to find the man to secure them their record fourth consecutive victory and a seventh win in eight tournaments.

The meeting began at 10am on Wednesday morning, and after two-and-a-half hours they confirmed the hugely popular figure of Clarke, who is competing in the Dimension Data pro-am in South??Africa this week – along with eldest son Tyrone.

In a statement Clarke said: ???I am naturally extremely proud to be selected as European Ryder Cup captain for 2016. The Ryder Cup has been a massive part of my life and my career, so to have the chance to lead Europe next year is a huge honour.

???I am lucky to have played and worked under some fantastic captains in my seven Ryder Cups to date, and I look forward to the challenge of trying to follow in their footsteps and help Europe to a fourth consecutive Ryder Cup victory at Hazeltine next year.???

O???Grady said: ???We are delighted to announce that Darren has accepted the invitation from the panel to captain Europe at The 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National.

???Darren has an impressive Ryder Cup pedigree having featured five times as a player and twice as a vice captain, so he has a strong understanding of the attributes required to be a successful captain. He is also a popular figure among the players and has both the passion and knowledge to lead Europe in the quest for a record fourth consecutive Ryder Cup victory.???

The Americans are yet to name their captain for next year’s showdown, but Davis Love III is being strongly tipped to be given a second chance to lead the team, having been the losing skipper for ‘The Miracle of Medinah’.??