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Clarke calls on Europe to “put down a statement”

Favourite for Ryder Cup captaincy says Montgomerie should also be considered for role

Gulf News

London: Europe may need to recall a former captain to compete with the United States in the 2014 Ryder Cup after the Americans “put down a statement” by calling on Tom Watson, says 2011 British Open winner Darren Clarke.

A winner of eight majors, Watson’s presence as captain for the match at Gleneagles shows how determined the US are to reclain the trophy and Clarke said Europe should respond with a big-name appointment, while distancing himself from the role.

Europe never ask a former captain to return but Clarke says that stance should change, offering the possibility of a return to the role for Colin Montgomerie who steered Europe to victory at Celtic Manor in 2010.

“We seriously need the right man for the job,” Clarke told the BBC. “We do have an (unwritten) rule where we don’t ask anybody to do it again, but we might have to look at that.”

Europe are expected to name their captain early in the New Year when the tournament committee meet in Abu Dhabi.

“I think it could well affect who is appointed,” said Clarke. “A lot of people, myself included, were surprised when Tom Watson was appointed.

“It’s a big statement and brilliant for the event. There are few more iconic figures in golf, he’s adored in Scotland and it sends out a statement that they are very serious about winning the trophy back.”

Watson will captain his country for a second time having also led the team to victory in 1993, the last time the US won on foreign soil.

“We’re tired of losing. I always said that early in my career, I learned to win by hating to lose,” Watson, 63, said about a US team that should have earned an advanced degree in winning by now after Europe’s stretch of success.

“It’s about time to start winning again for our team.”

Watson is a master at crossing the Atlantic to fill his trophy case, with five British Open titles, four of them taken on Scottish courses, and three Senior Opens won in Scotland.

Beating Europe’s best on their home soil is a tall order, but Watson said at a news conference on the 80th floor of the Empire State Building earlier this month, that his track record brings credibility.

“It brings to the table maybe a little bit more of a calm to the team members that I’ve done well over there, that I understand how the game is played on links golf and they can come to me maybe with questions about the golf course,” he said.