Clarke using in-depth stats to better Euro RC team

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It’s not just baseball geeks who study analytics.

European Ryder Cup captain Darren Clarke said Friday that he has been gathering in-depth statistical information from a company called 15th Club in an effort of better understanding the pros and cons of potential team members.

“Looking at professional golf from a statistical, slightly different way” Clarke said during Friday’s Golf Channel telecast of the BMW PGA Championship. “I’ve got my own personal app. Every Monday it’s updated with everything you could possibly imagine is on there. From strokes gained-putting, with their 3-iron, with their 7-iron, with their wedges. Everything.

“It’s way beyond what I started off in the Ryder Cup in 1997 with Seve (Ballesteros). Seve just shouted at you, ‘You’re hitting here! You’re doing this!’ It’s all changed a lot since that.”

Clarke said he would use the information to help determine partnerships and lineups. His team, the three-time defending Ryder Cup champions, could look vastly different from previous versions.

Currently, the likes of Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter, Martin Kaymer, Luke Donald and Graeme McDowell are outside of qualifying. Five potential rookies are inside the cut line, including Masters champion Danny Willett, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Andy Sullivan, Rafa Cabrera-Bello and Thorbjorn Olesen.

Clarke noted that this week’s BMW PGA was a big event in terms of the standings, as will be the Open de France at the end of June, which offers double Ryder Cup points – not to mention three more majors.

“We’ve got a lot of things going on that our team could fluctuate,” Clarke said.

“I’m watching more golf than I ever have before.”