London: Darren Clarke will captain holders Europe in the 2016 Ryder Cup match against the United States at Hazeltine, Minnesota, tour officials announced on Wednesday.
The 46-year-old Northern Irishman was appointed to succeed 2014 skipper Paul McGinley after a five-man selection panel met at the tour`s headquarters on the outskirts of London.
Clarke was one of three candidates for the role, along with Spain`s Miguel Angel Jimenez and Thomas Bjorn of Denmark, and the decision to give the job to the 2011 British Open champion came as no surprise.
"I am naturally extremely proud to be selected as European Ryder Cup captain for 2016," Clarke said in a news release. "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 victory."
Clarke has a great record in the biennial team event, having tasted defeat once in seven previous appearances as a player or vice-captain, and seemed to have the backing of most of the team that won the trophy in Scotland in September.
World number one Rory McIlroy said last month that Clarke would be a perfect fit in the U.S. where he is a popular figure.
Clarke is likely to be going head-to-head with Davis Love III at Hazeltine, Minnesota next year after the Golf Channel reported on Monday that the 1997 U.S. PGA Championship winner would be named American skipper next week.
It would be the second time Love, 50, has led the team after he oversaw the "Miracle of Medinah" defeat in 2012 when Olazabal`s side stormed back to win from 10-6 down.