Belfast Telegraph

Team Europe captain Darren Clarke wants to win Ryder Cup in style

By Ali Gordon

Darren Clarke will be taking style tips from his gorgeous model missus Alison ahead of the Ryder Cup.

The Portrush-based golfer, who will captain Team Europe at Hazeltine in 2016, has revealed that his team’s tournament attire will be “far from jazzy”, unlike winning 2014 captain Paul McGinley.

“It’ll be succinct and sharp,” said Clarke whose former Miss Northern Ireland wife Alison owns successful agency ACA Models.

“I’m sure Alison will keep me right,” joked the 2011 Open champion.

At last September’s Ryder Cup at Gleneagles, Dubliner McGinley opted for some rather daring outfits for his side and even unveiled a 12-piece clothing collection, which included kilts, hats, scarves and bow ties.

Players even donned blue and gold tartan trousers, to represent the colours of Scotland and the European Union, that were designed by McGinley and Scotland’s First Minister at the time, Alex Salmond.

Despite keeping tight-lipped about his Ryder Cup plans, Clarke admits that he underestimated the preparation involved in being captain at one of golf’s most prestigious tournaments.

“As things have gone on, I’ve learned that a lot more things go on behind the scenes before you even get there,” said Clarke.

“As a player five times and a vice-captain twice, everything is all done for you and you just turn up and try to win.

“Now I have to say yes and no to things and say that the players will do this and they’ll do that — there’s so much more to it that I didn’t realise.”

The pressure may be on Clarke to emulate last year’s success, but the Dungannon-born star is already well under  way with his plans for next year’s showdown with the Americans. Following in the footsteps of predecessor McGinley, who recruited Sir Alex Ferguson for a motivational team talk, Clarke is enlisting the help of a host of the world’s most prolific sportspeople.

Clarke will have Australian cricket legend Shane Warne; Champions League winner Andriy Schevchenko; Rugby World Cup winner Mike Tindall; multiple World boxing champion Oscar De La Hoya and one of the Premier League’s highest ever goalscorers, Robbie Fowler on hand to offer encouragement.

Clarke will also put into practice lessons that he has learned from previous tournaments.

“The Ryder Cup has been a huge part of my life and golfing career — I’ve certainly enjoyed them.

“I know what it’s like to be part of the whole team thing and how much of a privilege it is to have been chosen to represent the team,” he said.

“Being captain is not really something you strive towards because you’re offered it on their (the European Tour) judgments, but I was certainly delighted to have been considered and then to have been given the opportunity.

“It’s a huge honour that has been bestowed upon me by the European Tour which is my governing body and it’s the highest accolade that they can give anybody so I’m very, very grateful.”

Belfast Telegraph Digital


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