Rory McIlroy joins calls for captain Darren Clarke

Darren Clarke Northern Ireland

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Rory McIlroy has once again backed fellow Northern Irishman Darren Clarke to be the next European Ryder Cup captain.

After Paul McGinley’s stars took care of the USA at Gleneagles over the weekend, thoughts have now turned to who will replace the Irishman when Europe set out on the defence of the trophy in Hazeltine in two years time.

A few names have been suggested, with popular Spanish veteran Miguel Angel Jimenez thought to be in the frame, but there is a groundswell of opinion that Clarke is the man to do the job.

England’s Lee Westwood put his weight fully behind the 2011 Open champion earlier this week, with McIlroy already having tipped his compatriot to be in charge in 2016.

And on Wednesday, as he prepares to get back to business on the European Tour at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, McIlroy said that Clarke would be “the perfect man to lead the team there.”

A panel of the last three captains – McGinley, Jose Maria Olazabal and Colin Montgomerie – plus a player from the tournament committee and the European Tour chief, George O’Grady, will decide the next captain.

And it is looking odds-on that the man from Dungannon in County Tyrone will succeed McGinley, who was roundly praised for the job he did in helping the hosts secure their third straight Ryder cup triumph.

McIlroy also alluded to the fact that Clarke is popular with American fans, something that will be important to help calm what is certain to be a hostile atmosphere when battle recommences in Minnesota.

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