Wednesday 17 January 2018

Paul McGinley and Darren Clarke must put differences aside to prepare for 2016 - Graeme McDowell

Europe team Ryder Cup team members Darren Clarke (L) of Northern Ireland and Paul McGinley of Ireland practice for the 35th Ryder Cup Matches at the Oakland Hills in 2004.
Europe team Ryder Cup team members Darren Clarke (L) of Northern Ireland and Paul McGinley of Ireland practice for the 35th Ryder Cup Matches at the Oakland Hills in 2004.

James Corrigan

Graeme McDowell has urged Paul McGinley and Darren Clarke to "put their differences aside" in order for the latter to have a smooth run into the captaincy for the next Ryder Cup in 2016.

Attention has immediately turned to the identity of McGinley's successor after Europe's sixth win in seven matches. And although all the headlines in the aftermath of the 161/2-111/2 here focused on the disunity of the US team, with Phil Mickelson openly criticising Tom Watson's style of captaincy, McDowell cast light on the badly-kept secret of Europe's own division.

The relationship between McGinley and Clarke has broken down since the 2011 Open champion appeared to back Colin Montgomerie's captaincy for this match on the PGA Centenary Course. The pair were once very close, sharing rooms in their early days on the European Tour, but their communications recently have amounted to no more than cursory greetings.

Read more: Paul McGinley adamant that rift with Darren Clarke won't influence selection of 2016 captain

McDowell believes that has to change if there is to be continuity between reigns, which McGinley himself has claimed is vital to ongoing blue and gold dominance.

"Darren and Paul should put their differences aside," said McDowell. "Darren needs to spend some time talking to Paul about the way he [McGinley] has conducted himself this week.

"Paul commanded a huge amount of respect in the team room and was the best captain I have ever played under by far and that's no disrespect to any of the other captains."

McDowell and Rory McIlroy both reiterated their desire to see Clarke at the helm at Hazeltine. Under a new selection process, brought in after what many considered to be unseemly scenes of the last race, McGinley and the two previous captains - Jose Maria Olazabal and Montgomerie - will be part of a five-man selection panel, along with the European Tour chief executive, George O'Grady, and an as yet undetermined member of the Players Committee.

They are expected to make a choice in the new year. McGinley, however, was noncommittal about Clarke's chances. "We'll see. I'm part of the decision-making process. That's something we will discuss over the next few months,"he said.

Other candidates could be the Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez, as well as the Dane, Thomas Bjorn.

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