Padraig Harrington said Thursday that Darren Clarke is a “shoo-in” to be named the European Ryder Cup captain for 2016 but that expectations have never been higher.
That follows recent reports out of Europe that Clarke is expected to be appointed sometime in the next two months, after the five-man selection committee meets. Their task was made easier after Miguel Angel Jimenez admitted to having second thoughts about the job, saying that at age 51 he wasn’t ready to give up on his playing career.
Appearing on Matt Adams’ Sirius XM PGA Tour Radio show, Harrington said, “Darren, I really think he is the man for the job, but I think he’s a shoo-in now because it was nip and tuck between himself and Jimenez, but Jimenez has now given the committee an out. It’s easy not to pick because he said he wants to play. It’s a no-brainer. Nobody is going to be upset if they don’t pick him now, because he himself gave them an out.
“I see Darren as a natural choice. He’s been great for Europe over the years. He’s won the Order of Merit. He’s been great in the Ryder Cup. I think he’ll do a great job.”
But Harrington says that there has never been more pressure on Ryder Cup captains, especially after he watched firsthand the job that Paul McGinley did with the 2014 squad.
“He made the captaincy job far harder, because everybody, both European and U.S. captains, they’re going to have to live up to his standard, which was incredible,” Harrington said on the show. “Nobody – all of our good captains – none of them did a job like the way Paul McGinley did. He did the job completely different.
“Our previous captains were I’d say a lot more emotional about what they were doing, and it worked brilliantly, obviously. But going forward it’s going to put a lot of pressure on captains, that, look, if they don’t win, people will say well, you didn’t put the 3 ½ years of Paul McGinley’s life he put into this Ryder Cup. The last two years of his playing career were really put aside just to be Ryder Cup captain. So he’s put a lot up to every captain going forward.”