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Clarke's role as Ryder captain not a done deal

DARREN Clarke (pictured) has denied claims he has been offered the European Ryder Cup captaincy for Gleneagles in two years' time.

Media reports today had suggested that Clarke has been approached by European Tour officials and offered the post but the Northern Ireland took to Twitter today to deny the stories.

"To clarify..I have not been offered the Ryder Cup captaincy. It's not decided by the committee until January. Would be a huge honour if asked," he tweeted.

Lee Westwood backed Clarke to be Europe's next Ryder Cup captain yesterday as the Northern Irishman's candidature for the 2014 match at Gleneagles began to look inevitable.

"If I were asked to pick, it would be Darren Clarke," said Westwood. "He has been a Ryder Cup stalwart for many years. He is a major champion, tactically he is very astute. I think he has a lot going for him."

The merits of Paul McGinley, the current bookies' favourite, also cannot be doubted. Like Clarke, he has been a vice-captain at the last two Ryder Cups and has also twice been the winning Great Britain and Ireland captain at the Seve Trophy. As a player, he was on the winning team in three Ryder Cups -- the competitions in 2002, 2004 and 2006.

"Paul makes a great vice-captain," said Westwood. "Paul has played three Ryder Cups, Darren has played five, won a major championship -- he edges it for me."


In Turkey today, Tiger Woods enjoyed a more serene start to his round as the Turkish Golf Airlines World Golf Final resumed following an eventful opening day.

Defeats for Woods and world number one Rory McIlroy were overshadowed overnight by reports that the head of the Turkish Golf Federation, Ahmet Agaoglu, had headbutted a journalist.

The alleged incident occurred around the first tee yesterday as Woods prepared to face former Masters champion Charl Schwartzel, with journalist Cihat Unal filing a complaint against Agaoglu and claiming his glasses were broken.

Agaoglu today denied he headbutted Unal, saying: "He pushed me and I pushed him back and he fell over."

There were fewer fans around the first tee today as Woods teed off against Matt Kuchar.