After weeks of speculation the debate is over – Northern Ireland’s Darren Clarke yesterday made himself available for selection for next month’s Ryder Cup at the K Club in Ireland, possibly paving the way for some emotional scenes at the biennial clash with the USA.
Clarke has not played competitive golf since the Open Championship at Hoylake in July, following his wife Heather’s struggle with and death from breast cancer earlier in August. He is one of Europe’s finest matchplayers and has an excellent Ryder Cup record, and the news that he has made himself available for a potential wildcard pick will delight European skipper Ian Woosnam.
Rumours of Clarke’s potential participation had been sparked a couple of weeks ago after one of Woosnam’s assistants, Sandy Lyle, said that he was fairly certain that Clarke would take part. Now those rumours have been confirmed via a statement released yesterday afternoon by his management company.
“Woosie is aware that Darren would like to be considered for next month’s Ryder Cup,” it read.
“Of course he will abide by any decision made but he is as keen to play as any of the other pros.”
On hearing yesterday’s news Woosnam responded rapidly, stating that he was under consideration for one of his wildcard picks.
“All I’ve heard is that Darren is available to play in the Ryder Cup,” he said yesterday.
“It’s a definite possibility – he is a possible, yes.”
Clarke’s friend Tiger Woods had stated earlier in the week that he hoped that Clarke would present in the European team, and on hearing the news one of his potential team-mates, Paul Casey, was delighted.
“Woosie is the only guy who can tell you who he’ll pick,” said Casey.
“All I know is that when Darren Clarke is on form he is one of the finest players in the world – an unbelievable golfer. He is a great guy and he will be supported. I’d love him to be there. If he’s ready that’s great and if he’s picked then that would be fantastic.”
The Ryder Cup takes place from September 22-24 at the K Club. Woosnam’s team will be finalised after this weekend’s BMW International Open in Munich. Log on to www.golf-monthly.co.uk for all the build up to the event and the best coverage once the tournament gets underway.