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Let me be Ryder Cup captain, says Darren Clarke

Darren Clarke has revealed that his ultimate ambition is to captain the European Ryder Cup team.

Amid emotional scenes at the K Club near Dublin, Clarke helped Europe to victory over the USA in 2006, just after the death of his wife Heather.

It was an occasion that will live long in the memory.

The Dungannon man was recently appointed as one of Colin Montgomerie’s vice captains for the next Ryder Cup showdown at Celtic Manor in Wales in October.

But Clarke is not ruling out a playing role in that particular clash with the Americans.

“A lot depends on how I play at the US PGA next week. If I do well, I still have a chance of playing in the Ryder Cup. That’s the way I am looking at it,” said Clarke, who has been a Ryder Cup great over the years.

“It’s a wonderful honour to be appointed vice captain, particularly with Rory (McIlroy) and Graeme (McDowell) sure to be there. It should be a fantastic occasion.

“It would be a great honour to be Ryder Cup captain at some stage in the future. But of course I don’t make those decisions.

“I don’t know what will happen but it’s certainly I post I would love to be offered.”

And Clarke admits he is excited about the US PGA Championship, which starts on Thursday at Whistler Straits, Wisconsin.

“I am playing okay again. I played really nicely down in Killarney (at the Irish Open) last week — I just didn’t putt particularly well,” said Clarke, who feels Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy will both be winning more tournaments soon.

“The last time we were at Whistling Straits, in 2004, I was leading at one stage. I like the course, the course is good so I am looking forward to getting back.

“It’s always good to be going back to a course that you like, rather than one that you don’t so it should be good.

“I have no doubt Tiger will get back to the level he was at. He’s just going through a turbulent time at the moment.

“He’s not playing the way he would like but he’s the best player in the world.

“He obviously has personal issues that he has got to deal with and I’m sure whenever he has those dealt with the best he can he will be back playing golf as well as he can.

“Rory is going to be winning on a regular basis. His win at Quail Hollow earlier this year was sensational. He has got the game to do whatever he wants.”

Clarke was at Greenmount College yesterday for the launch of the Darren Clarke Golf School, an initiative the Co Tyrone ace hopes will help unearth the next Rory.

Clarke experienced the American college system after leaving school and feels the Greenmount College course offers an attractive alternative to the States for young players.

“I went to the US to play golf and for an education, and this

course offers a similar route,” he said.

And Clarke thinks young players can actually gain more from staying in Ireland in the early part of their careers.

“Playing in Ireland when you have to tough it out in difficult weather conditions is good experience. Learning the game in those kind of conditions is of great benefit,” he added.

“I am currently in the process of

moving back to live in Northern Ireland and will be based only 45 minutes away from the campus.

“This project is very close to my heart and I intend popping in to help the students as much as possible.

“I will do all I can to build on the good work carried out by the staff, who are all doing a wonderful job here.

“These are exciting times for local golf.”

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