Players swing behind Darren Clarke as 2016 Ryder captain
Darren Clarke appears to be emerging as clear favourite to captain Europe at the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine in the US.
Shanghai: Darren Clarke appears to be emerging as clear favourite to captain Europe at the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine in the US.
Lee Westwood, Padraig Harrington and Rory McIlroy have already come out in support of the burly Northern Irishman and in Shanghai on Saturday Graeme McDowell nailed his own colours firmly to the mast.
"I`m also backing Darren for the 2016 European Team captaincy and he`s an obvious pick," McDowell told reporters at the BMW Masters.
Another candidate appears to be Thomas Bjorn, who is a highly popular chairman of the Tour`s players` committee, but McDowell said he may be more suited to 2018 in France.
"I have been speaking to Thomas (Bjorn) about 2016 but he believes he can still make the team as a player," said McDowell.
Miguel Angel Jimenez told AFP at the recent Hong Kong Open that he would love to be captain, and McDowell agreed he may also be a candidate.
"Yes, there`s also Miguel who would have to be considered but I believe Darren`s got the credentials," McDowell said.
"Unlike past years Europe seems now to have this clear window for 2016 as far as Darren is concerned but for 2018 and beyond you then will have players stacking up with the likes of Bjorn, Miguel, Harrington and Westwood in the mix for consideration."
The selection process for the 2016 Ryder Cup captain has been changed and will be voted on in January in Abu Dhabi by a panel comprising the past three captains -- Colin Montgomerie, Jose Maria Olazabal and Paul McGinley -- European Tour CEO George O`Grady and players committee representative David Howell.
"The aim is to make the selection process as transparent as possible," McGinley told AFP on Saturday.
Clarke is an obvious choice, having been part of four victorious Ryder Cup teams between 1997. He was also a vice-captain in 2010 and 2012 and is an extremely popular figure in the United States where the match will be held.
"I would have to say I am supporting Darren, absolutely," Harrington told Irishgolfdesk.com last week.
"I think he deserves it. He`s been a big star in Europe for a long number of years, he`s done a lot for European golf through the end of the `90s, early 2000s and I think he`ll do a good job."
Seven of the team victorious at Gleneagles are in Shanghai for the BMW Masters which ends Sunday.
Of them, Jamie Donaldson made the biggest move Saturday, shooting a superb third-round 10-under par 62 to move within four of leader Alexander Levy of France, who himself shot 63, going into Sunday`s final round. Levy is 22 under for the tournament after 54 holes.