European Ryder Cup captain Ian Woosnam will name his two wildcard selections for next month’s Ryder Cup in Ireland on September 3rd, and speculation is mounting that Northern Ireland’s Darren Clarke (pictured) is set to be given the chance to decide whether or not he will be mentally and physically fit to play in the event.
Clarke’s wife Heather lost her brave fight against breast cancer on August 13th, with her funeral taking place in Northern Ireland last Thursday. As a result of her battle with the disease and her death, Clarke has not played competitive golf since the Open Championship in July and those close to him had tipped him to miss the clash with the USA at the end of September.
However, with the presitigious team event taking place in Clarke’s native Ireland, Woosnam’s assistant Sandy Lyle has predicted that Clarke may in fact be ready to take up the challenge of continuing his fine Ryder Cup record and taking on the Americans. Reports are suggesting that Woosnam will choose three wildcard picks at the end of the qualifying period and will keep one to himself – a reserve pick who will play if Clarke decides that it would be too much for him.
Lyle believes that the Ulsterman will be keen to play and was very candid in his view that Clarke will be part of the European team next month.
“I am surprised about all the speculation regrading whether or not Darren will be involved – of course he will,” the two-time Major winner said on Sunday.
“Darren is very important to the team, is one of our very best players and has a great record in the event. Heather’s death is a tragedy but it wasn’t sudden and I’m sure Darren will be keen to get back into a routine. He has already indicated that he wants to play in Madrid the week before the Ryder Cup and I am sure he will want to play in front of an Irish gallery at the K Club.”