"McIlroy Is The Most Gifted Player In The World" - Darren Clarke On Ryder Cup

Europe's 2016 Ryder Cup captain discusses the upcoming match at Whistling Straits

Rory McIlroy and Darren Clarke pictured
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Europe's 2016 Ryder Cup captain discusses the upcoming match at Whistling Straits

Ahead of the Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits, we caught up with Europe's 2016 captain Darren Clarke.

Clarke made five appearances for Team Europe between 1997 - 2006 and was on the winning side on four of those five occasions.

In this exclusive Q&A, the Northern Irishman discussed his countryman Rory McIlroy, his captaincy, the Brooks/Bryson feud and much more.

Do you think Rory McIlroy will turn it on in the Ryder Cup despite another major-less season?

Rory is a real leader for the team and I’m sure we can rely on him to do what he needs to.

He’s the most gifted player in the world and he knows what is required this week.

He’ll be looking forward to it very much, I’m sure.

Do you have any regrets from your captaincy in 2016?

You just can’t think that way.

Of course, if I’m being asked about it, I would have loved a different result, but we have to accept that the Americans were the better team that week.

Would you like to be captain again?

It was a great honour to be Ryder Cup captain, but I think that was my time.

There are so many players with a lot of experience that will be eyeing it over the next few years that I think you only get one shot at it.

How crucial is home advantage in the Ryder Cup?

It’s undoubtedly a factor but it’s not something that can’t be overcome as we’ve seen time and again.

I’m sure the American fans will be as passionate as ever, but the European guys will have to deal with that and thrive in the face of it.

Does Europe have an advantage after the Brooks/Bryson feud?

I don’t think that will have a huge bearing on things.

Only the two of them know what’s been going on and I’m sure Steve Stricker and the team will find a way to work around any issues.

I don’t see it being a factor once Friday comes.

Would you like to see an official senior Ryder Cup?


The standard among the Seniors is very good and I think it would be a lot of fun for people to see.

Did the Americans have too many wildcards?

It’s a lot but too many? They’re the kinds of things that will come out in the wash depending on the result.

That’s the road they’ve decided to go down but they’re all very good players, so we’ll see, won’t we?

What will Harrington be like as Captain?

I’m sure he’ll be very well prepared and will be itching to get going now after waiting so long!

I’ve known him a long time and he was a vice captain when I was captain in 2016.

What will Stricker be like as a Captain?

Steve is a real gentleman and I’m sure he’ll be a great captain too.

Will USA miss Tiger Woods both as a player and vice-captain?

There’s so much anticipation around this Ryder Cup because it feels like it’s been so long but not having Tiger there takes a touch away from any event undoubtedly. We all wish him well.

What made you decide to create Darren Clarke CBD?

Darren Clarke CBD was an opportunity that I couldn’t miss.

I believe we have a strong product that can help golfers in lots of ways, and I’ve had some great feedback on it.

For me it’s particularly helped recovery but there are lots of benefits, I wanted to give the consumer a quality product that they could trust.

What effects have you found from Darren Clarke CBD?

CBD oil has undoubtedly helped my game, especially when it came to recovering between rounds.

It’s easy to get tired and achy when playing a four-day tournament, but I’m certain that using CBD this week worked to negate that, and also I have never slept better.

Visit darrenclarkecbd.co.uk (opens in new tab) for more information.

Elliott Heath
Senior Staff Writer

Elliott Heath is our Senior Staff Writer and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news, features, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. Elliott has interviewed some huge names in the golf world including Sergio Garcia, Thomas Bjorn, Bernd Wiesberger and Scotty Cameron as well as a number of professionals on the DP World and PGA Tours. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as four Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats anywhere between 2-6. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 - a long time ago now!

Elliott is currently playing:

Driver: Titleist TSR4

3 wood: TaylorMade SIM2 Max

Hybrid: TaylorMade SIM Max

Irons: Mizuno MP5 4-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x