Darren Clarke, the 2016 Europea Ryder Cup captain, has played in five Ryder Cups and been vice-captain for two more.
With Darren Clarke having been named 2016 European Ryder Cup captain for the contest at Hazeltine, take a look at a history of the Ulsterman’s involvement in the great biennial contest.
1997 – Valderrama
Clarke’s first Ryder Cup was in 1997 at Valderrama. Despite qualifying for the European Team in second place on the points list, and finishing second in that year’s Open, Seve only picked him once in the first two days – he won his Saturday fourball match paired with Colin Montgomerie. Clarke lost out in the singles to Phil Mickelson. Here he is pictured with the trophy together with a fresh-faced Lee Westwood.
1999 – Brookline
Clarke played all four of the doubles matches with Lee Westwood in 1999. The pair won two, most memorably against Duval and Woods in the Friday fourball, and lost two. Clarke then lost out to Hal Sutton in the singles as Europe collapsed and the USA stole the victory.
2002 – The Belfry
In 2002 Clarke was the first qualifier for Sam Torrance’s team. He went into the matches at The Belfry at 19th on the Official World Golf Ranking.
In the first set of four-ball matches, he and Thomas Bjorn recorded a memorable, one-up victory over Tiger Woods and Paul Azinger. Clarke picked up two further half points in 2002. One of those came when partnering Paul McGinley in the last match of the Saturday afternoon fourballs. The pair were great friends, but fell out in the run-up to the 2014 Ryder Cup. Clarke put his name into the hat for the captaincy having previously told McGinley he wouldn’t, then Clarke withdrew his candidacy but gave his support to Colin Montgomerie.
2004 – Oakland Hills
At Oakland Hills in 2004, Clarke played a blinder (although so did most of the European team.) He and Miguel Angel Jimenez bulldozed through Chad Campbell and Davis Love III in the opening fourballs, then the Ulsterman teamed up with old buddy Westwood in the afternoon foursomes to beat “the odd couple” Tiger Woods and Lee Westwood. Here Clarke and Westwood celebrate their win – they can’t quite believe it… Neither could Tiger Woods!
2006 – The K Club
The K Club in 2006 witnessed one of the most emotional scenes in the history of golf as Darren Clarke teed it up just weeks after his wife Heather had died of cancer. He received an incredible reception on the first day as he led off in his match with Lee Westwood against Phil Mickelson and Chris DiMarco. Clarke won all three of the matches he played in, more than validating Ian Woosnam’s decision to select him as a wildcard pick.
2010 – Celtic Manor
In 2010 Clarke was a vice-captain to Colin Montgomerie at Celtic Manor.
2012 – Medinah
He was also a vice-captain to Jose Maria Olazabal at Medinah in 2012.