Thursday 19 April 2018

'Rory can overpower any course' - Darren Clarke backs McIlroy for US PGA glory

Darren Clarke:
Darren Clarke: "Rory can win any week". Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Liam Kelly​

​Ryder Cup captain Darren Clarke has backed Rory McIlroy to make it three European victories from four Major championships.

Clarke, speaking on the eve of the 98th US PGA Championship at Baltusrol, reckons that McIlroy is on the cusp of a tournament win.

Already this season Danny Willett and Henrik Stenson have won two of the three Majors of the season, and Clarke believes that McIlroy, a key man on the team for the Ryder Cup, has a great chance of another victory for Europe.

McIlroy tees it up today at 1.30pm Irish time alongside Phil Mickelson and world No 1 Jason Day.

"Rory can win any week. He's been very close to playing really well for quite some time now," said Clarke.

"He just seems to have thrown in the odd not-so-good round, and the putter hasn't really been behaving.

"But Rory is such a talent that he can win anywhere.

Read more: McIlroy - 'It's realistic for me to win a Major every year until I'm 40'

"When you have his ability to hit the ball as far as he does and as straight as he does, he can overpower any golf course.

"Just because he hasn't won since the Irish Open, I have no concerns whatsoever.

"It's only a matter of time before he wins again, and it may well be this week.

"And if it's not this week, it could be the next time he plays; he's that good," said Clarke.

The big man from Dungannon, Co Tyrone is here to compete but the Ryder Cup, to be played at Hazeltine, Minnesota from September 30-October 2, dominates his thinking.

Yesterday Clarke announced Sam Torrance as his fifth vice-captain to complete his backroom team.

Pádraig Harrington, Ian Poulter, Paul Lawrie and Thomas Bjorn were previously named as vice-captains.

Torrance was the victorious European captain at The Belfry in 2002, and Clarke chose him ahead of possible candidate and 2012 winning skipper, Jose Maria Olazabal,

"Yes, I spoke to José Maria, but Sam thankfully accepted my invitation to join the team.

"I'm very pleased and privileged that Sam is going to be part of it," added Clarke.

Irish Independent

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