New European Ryder Cup captain Darren Clarke will be aiming to deliver on the course in the Joburg Open which starts in South Africa tomorrow.
All eyes will be on the 46-year-old Northern Irishman who will be keen to show he can still produce the goods and compete with the best just days after being announced as the man to lead Europe’s quest for a record-breaking fourth consecutive Ryder Cup victory at Hazeltine in 2016.
The 2011 Open champion is hoping that his new position will enable him to find a winning formula on the fairways of the Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club as he looks to recapture his best form.
After being named the new RC captain, Clarke has enjoyed the slaps on the back and goodwill messages but reckons it’s now time to get down to business through he freely admits it won’t be easy. “Obviously my own competitive instincts haven’t been too good lately but hopefully the captaincy will help me play a little bit better.
“Certainly this year, I don’t think the captaincy will make an awful lot of difference, but I would imagine next year it would make a big difference to my playing schedule.”
A strong field will gather in the South African capital and include two of South Africa’s finest – defending champion George Coetzee and Richard Sterne, who is looking to make it a hat-trick of Joburg Open titles this week.
The action will take place on Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club’s East and West courses with the 210-man field playing each layout over the first two rounds before the East course hosts the final two rounds.