Clarke is fans' favourite for Ryder Cup captaincy


The 2011 Open champion, Darren Clarke OBE, is the popular choice among club golfers to lead the European Ryder Cup team in 2014, according to a recent poll carried out by HowDidiDo, Europe's largest golfing community.

Clarke, who played in five consecutive European sides between 1997 and 2006, took 39 per cent of the vote, polling half as many votes again as his nearest rival, fellow Irishman Paul McGinley (26 per cent).

Spaniard Miguel Ángel Jiménez, who joined Clarke and McGinley as vice-captains in José María Olazábal's amazing success at Medinah, was the third most popular choice, but he managed only to secure 12 per cent of the vote.

The 2010 captain, Colin Montgomerie, was the fourth most popular choice with eight per cent, with Sandy Lyle (six), Thomas Bjorn (five) and 2012 hero Paul Lawrie (four) also trailing in the wake of the two popular Irishmen.

Indeed, Clarke polled more votes than Montgomerie, Lyle, Bjorn, and Lawrie, combined, showing that, not surprisingly, the bookies are correct in having the Northern Irishman as favourite for the post, with his odds as low as 8/13*.

Nearly 2,000 votes were registered in the poll, and there are, arguably, few better websites from which to take an accurate sample of golfing opinion. HowDidiDo boasts a membership of more than 370,000 golfers - all golf club members - and contains a database of handicaps, results and scores for in excess of 1.3m men and women.

HowDidiDo Media's managing director, Barry Dyett, said: "While the popularity among club golfers of Clarke and McGinley is not unexpected, the level of support for Clarke does come as something of a surprise. We certainly did not anticipate him polling half as many votes again as McGinley.

"You know what they say, ‘you never see a poor bookie', and the odds being quoted currently tend to fall in line with our findings, although our members - all paid-up club golfers - have Miguel Ángel Jiménez as third favourite, while the lowest I've seen him quoted is 20/1 fifth favourite. Could he be the surprise choice?"

Standard membership to HowDidiDo is free and the plethora of statistics available allows any golfer to analyse and compare performance with other players at their own club or across the network. During 2011, the site received more than 60 million page views.

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