Wednesday 18 January 2017

'It was my fault' - Darren Clarke apologises to Paul McGinley after five-year Ryder Cup feud

Rachel Martin

Published 21/03/2016 | 10:16

Paul McGinley and Darren Clarke have buried the hatchet
Paul McGinley and Darren Clarke have buried the hatchet

Darren Clarke has revealed he has ended a five-year feud with fellow Irish golfer Paul McGinley - drawing a line under one of the bitterest disputes in the sport.

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But he warned that leading Europe's charge for a record fourth successive Ryder Cup later this year could cost him more friends.

The pair infamously fell out after Clarke changed his mind on supporting McGinley's bid to captain the European team at the 2014 tournament, deciding instead to also run for the top role.

The Dungannon man caused further friction when he then also suggested that Europe should appoint Colin Montgomerie as captain instead.

The pair's relationship became increasingly bitter and McGinley told the Irish Independent at the time that he and Clarke were barely on speaking terms.

At the time McGinley said: "Our conversations are short and sweet. It's: 'How are you?' 'Fine'. Move on."

However, in an interview with the Mail on Sunday, Clarke told how he had apologised, and the two have patched up their differences.

It followed a conversation on the driving range at a tournament in Dubai last month.

"Paul and I had a great conversation in Dubai," Clarke said.

"We must have stood and talked for an hour on the range. He was giving me tips and advice about what he had done. We had a great conversation there and I apologised to him.

"Hindsight is a wonderful thing. I have made some mistakes in my career. We have all made some mistakes. I held my hands up and I got things wrong. Just with what was going on around that time. Did I support Monty that much? No.

"I was just trying to do what I thought was the right thing for the team. I wasn't against Paul. I just saw options.

"I got accused of all sorts of bits and pieces, which were incorrect at the time. There was no point in me saying a word because I wasn't going to go anywhere with it.

"All I was concerned about was doing the right thing for Europe and things got twisted and taken out of my hands."

Clarke said the pair have now drawn a line under things.

"I have moved on. I have made my peace with Paul and he was brilliant in Dubai," he added.

"I can go back to him and run things past him. He said: 'Whatever you want, let me know'.

"We have buried the hatchet and we are moving forward. We have drawn a line under it.

"He offered me all sorts of advice. He couldn't have been better.

"That feels good because we were very close growing up all the way through our careers.

"I made some mistakes and hopefully they are mistakes I won't make again. Everybody makes them now and again and if you are a big enough man, you understand that you have done it. The reason why our relationship broke down was my fault and that's fine. I am big enough to accept it."

However, Clarke has admitted his role as European captain could jeopardise more friendships.

The Ryder Cup team is made up of the top four players on European rankings on August 28 plus the first five on the world list who have not already qualified.

The final three players are then picked by the team's captain.

The team will represent Europe at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota, at the end of September.

Among those in danger of missing out on the tournament are Clarke's friends Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter.

Clarke added: "It could cost me friendships. That may well be the case. But I have to do what I have to do for the betterment of the European Tour.

"There is a ruthless streak to me. Very much so. If you were to analyse successful professional golfers, if they are not ruthless, they are not successful.

"It's as simple as that. Our job and our profession demands selfishness and ruthlessness and inner desire."

Clarke also admitted he has obsessive compulsive disorder, citing the clothes in his wardrobe as an example.

Because his weight fluctuates, they are hung in size order and meticulously arranged in a line going from dark to light.

"It's completely messed up," added Clarke.

Belfast Telegraph

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