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Plotting path to Ryder Cup joy giving Darren Clarke sleepless nights

By Robert Jones

Published 08/09/2016

Prize fighter: Darren Clarke is doing all he can to clinch the Ryder Cup
Prize fighter: Darren Clarke is doing all he can to clinch the Ryder Cup

Darren Clarke admits he is losing sleep over his Ryder Cup captaincy but prefers to devote every waking moment to preparing Team Europe for the clash with the USA at Hazeltine.

This is a once in a lifetime chance for Ulsterman Clarke and his commitment to the job is unequivocal. The clock is ticking on the countdown to the start of the 41st Ryder Cup on September 30, so Clarke's current mantra is 'so much to do, so little time'.

"It's on my mind all the time. I don't get to sleep. It's just non-stop," he said. "It's part of my character, my attention to detail, it's part of me. I keep waking up, go back asleep, but then wake up 10 minutes later and get my phone out and type something into my notes on my phone and bits and pieces."

Clarke is not in a panic or overwhelmed by the task facing him. It's more about covering every possible angle he can to give Europe a chance of winning on American soil for only the fifth time in Ryder Cup history.

"If I don't give it my all, I'll be disappointed in myself. If I didn't feel that I did everything I possibly could, I would feel as if I'd let the team down and I do not want to do that," said Clarke.

"I want to give those guys the amount of respect that they should have, and I can only do that if I feel as if I've done everything I possibly can."

The captain has a WhatsApp group with his five vice-captains - Pádraig Harrington, Thomas Bjorn, Paul Lawrie, Sam Torrance and Ian Poulter - and they are used to getting communications at all hours.

"They've had some funny messages at funny times," Clarke said with a smile.

Compatriot Rory McIlroy's performance in clinching the Deutsche Bank Championship on Monday gave Clarke plenty of other reasons to smile, and he hopes the four-time Major winner can maintain his form at this week's BMW Championship as the tournament returns to the scene of his 2012 triumph.

"To have the best player in the world playing the way he is and holing putts, it's massive to have him on the team," Clarke said.

"He's inspirational. Is he a leader? We shall see, but I'm looking at him, wanting him to bring a lot more than his golf."

Meanwhile, Tiger Woods has said he hopes to return to competitive golf next month.

The former World No.1 has been out since August last year due to serious back problems which have required surgery.

He said: "My rehabilitation is to the point where I'm comfortable making plans, but I have work to do. It depends on my progress and recovery."

Belfast Telegraph

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