Darren Clarke has said that being installed as European Ryder Cup captain for Gleneagles 2014 would be an honour, but has denied he has already been offered the post.
The 44-year-old Northern Irishman is joint favourite – alongside Paul McGinley – for the position in Scotland.
However, Irishman Padraig Harrington recently told Golf Monthly that Clarke may be the frontrunner. “The inside track is edging for Darren, ahead of Paul, so I believe,” he said.
Other tour pros have lent their support for Clarke, as well.
England’s Lee Westwood has backed last year’s Open Champion, too. He said: “Darren’s a major champion… tactically very astute. I think Darren has a lot of good things going for him.”
Support has even come from the opposition, with Tiger Woods telling the BBC recently that he thinks Clarke would make a ‘great captain’.
Player manager Andrew ‘Chubby’ Chandler also thinks Clarke is the right candidate for the job, saying in an interview he believes Clarke to be the ideal man to lead Europe at Gleneagles in two year’s time.
Clarke certainly has the experience required, having been involved twice as a vice-captain, in 2010 and 2012, as well as representing Europe on five occasions as a player.
However, after reports circulated that he had already been offered the job, Clarke took to Twitter to dispell such claims. “To clarify… I have not been offered the Ryder Cup captaincy. It’s not decided by the committee until January. Would be a huge honour if asked,” he said.
Ryder Cup Director Richard Hill also looked to down play talk yesterday that the position was all sown up.
“No decision on the European captain for the 2014 Ryder Cup has been taken and none will be taken until, at the earliest, the Tournament Committee next meets – most probably during the Middle East swing in early 2013,” he added.
Dane Thomas Bjorn is also said to be in the mix. The 2012 vice-captain was pointed to by his captain Jose Maria Olazabal as another potential candidate.