Clarke proud to be Europe’s captain
New European Ryder Cup captain Darren Clarke will put his much publicised dispute with outgoing skipper Paul McGinley to one side after he confirmed he consult his Irish colleague for advice ahead of the 2016 event at Hazeltine.
Even though Clarke has endured a turbulent relationship with McGinley in recent years, the latter showed he could ignore their spat as he was involved in the process that led to the selection of the next European captain.
Clarke, 46, who played in the Ryder Cup five times and was a vice-captain in 2010 and 2012, was unanimously chosen ahead of Miguel Angel Jimenez and Thomas Bjorn by a five-man selection panel at Wentworth.
McGinley admitted last year his conversations with Clarke were now ''short and sweet" but Clarke will consult McGinley after the Dubliner's leadership at Gleneagles received widespread acclaim.
"It would be very foolish for me not to follow the same formula," Clarke said.
"With everything that came out of Gleneagles and the unbelievable job that Paul did there, I would be foolish not to speak to Paul and all the other captains before that.
"The team bonding and spirit they had at Gleneagles is obviously something I would love to replicate.
"I will try to pick off as much information as I can from all the previous captains. I think it would be very remiss of me if I didn't do that to try and pick out the bits that they thought worked best for the teams.
"At the end of the day it's not about me, it's about the players and to try and make sure the team has an enjoyable week, which is quite difficult in a stressful atmosphere that the Ryder Cup is. But if the guys are relaxed and enjoy themselves that always helps a little bit more.
"Certainly with the teams that I have been involved in, both as a player and vice-captain, that has been a huge factor.
"To be captain of the European Team is a huge honour that ranks up there with anything I've achieved in the professional game. It's right up at the very top."
McGinley reiterated that he would not act as vice-captain to Clarke, or anyone else, but added: "I will give him any support he needs. At the same time it's important I step away too.
"Darren's now at the front and let him go ahead. It's not necessarily about following me or following Jose or following Monty or anybody who has done it before and won. It's about doing what's best for him and how he sees it."
Clarke said he has a "few people in mind" for his vice-captains and indicated he was likely to copy McGinley and have five of them at Hazeltine, where he is set to come up against good friend Davis Love.
Love is set to be confirmed as United States captain next week and Clarke added: "If so that would be wonderful. We've played many practice rounds together and are very good friends. He is a gentleman and there isn't a nicer man in our sport."
Love was captain in 2012 when Europe produced the 'Miracle at Medinah' to recover from 10-4 down on Saturday afternoon and win by a single point.
Last year's win at Gleneagles made it three in succession and six of the last seven, something that Montgomerie believes will make Clarke's job all the harder.
Montgomerie told Sky Sports News: "It's an unenviable task; America want it back badly and he will have all our support. They do want revenge, they set up their task force and had their own internal wranglings about what they can do to win it back.
"We have selected a captain that I am convinced will retain the Ryder Cup and bring it home. I think he will be a very good communicator with the players individually, which is most important as a captain. He has the respect of the players."
The last of Clarke's five appearances as a player was an emotionally-charged affair at the K Club in 2006, when he somehow won all three of his matches just weeks after the death of his first wife Heather from cancer.