Pros advice

Dispute with Darren Clarke won’t sway Paul McGinley’s decision

Man of the hour Paul McGinley has laid to rest rumours that his strained relationship with Darren Clarke will play a part in his opinion on who should succeed him as Ryder Cup captain.

McGinley is a cog in the five-man committee machine that will choose the European captain for 2016, with Clarke already going public about his interest in the position.

The rift between the two men started when McGinley was hoping to be picked as captain for the 2014 event. Clarke initially backed McGinley before suddenly putting himself forward for the role and then moving on to support Colin Montgorerie.

"I'm going to be very professional in my input," said McGinley.

Clarke actually wrote to McGinley in 2011 and offered his support to the Irishman’s bid to lead the European team out at Gleneagles. But then in December 2012, Clarke told the BBC that he was in the running to become captain, before appearing to back Montgorerie – who had led in 2010 – after the United States opted for Tom Watson.

"We do have an (unwritten) rule where we don't ask anybody to do it again, but we might have to look at that," said Clarke.

However, in the end McGinley was named captain in 2013 and took Europe to a 16 ½ -11½ victory, earning praise from Nike golfer Rory McIlroy and TaylorMade’s Sergio Garcia.

McGinley recently admitted that his conversations with Darren Clarke were now “short and sweet,” but when asked if his relationship with Clarke would present an issue for his captaincy bid, McGinley was quick in his response: "Absolutely no problem whatsoever.

"I'm going to get opinions from a lot of players and a lot of people before I put my opinion forward as to what it will be. Just like I was very much pushed over the line by the players, I want to get the opinion of the players.

"We're very fortunate in Europe, a little bit like the Liverpool soccer team and the boot room. A lot of us have benefited hugely from being vice-captains. Darren has been a vice-captain along with many other guys.

"We will see where that all evolves and I'll make a professional decision based on the views of people that I respect."