Friday, December 14

Clarke for McGinley in 2014?

By Brian Keogh
Special to ARMCHAIR GOLF

Brian Keogh is a golf correspondent for The Irish Sun and a contributor to The Irish Times, Golf Digest Ireland and other golf publications. The following excerpt from Brian’s Irish Golf Desk is used with permission.

Paul McGinley
THINGS ARE MOVING APACE IN THE RACE for the 2014 European Ryder Cup captaincy. Less than 12 hours after the USA appointed eight-time major winner Tom Watson and within minutes of Rory McIlroy’s tweet to re-iterate his support for Paul McGinley with the proviso that Darren Clarke get the job in America in 2016, Clarke, by retweeting Rory, appears to be singing off the same hymn sheet.

It’s the first sign of some joined up thinking in Europe, winner of seven of the last nine Ryder Cups. Faced with the task of taking on an eight time major winner in the aura stakes, it would be madness to try and fight like with like. For starters, Europe doesn’t have an eight-time major winner and Clarke may well feel that he is on a hiding to nothing by trying to take on the Kansas City legend.

McGinley, a long-time admirer of Watson’s, would be the ideal solution. Not only would his appointment allow Europe an excuse to claim the underdog’s role, it would put the pressuure on Watson to deliver. That would leave McGinley to concentrate on what he does best—organise and prepare—and leave Clarke untainted for the 2016 matches at Hazeltine in Minnesota.

Clarke may also fear losing face if it comes down to a close vote by the Tournament Players Committee following the appointment of McGinley supporter Francesco Molinari and Dubliner Peter Lawrie recently.

Nothing will be decided until January but we could well be close to another dual announcement by Europe—McGinley 2014, Clarke 2016. It makes sense.

Brian Keogh covers golf for The Irish Sun and contributes to a variety of golf publications. Pay him a visit at Irish Golf Desk.

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