Lothians legend Bernard Gallacher believes Darren Clarke faces a “tough assignment” at Hazeltine due to America’s Ryder Cup pride being hurt after three straight defeats.
“I expected Darren to be captain,” said the Bathgate man, who captained Europe three times, including a win at Oak Hill in 1995.
“The players wanted him and he has plenty of experience. He was really a shoe-in and I’m pleased for him.
“But the Americans have been hit hard after losing at Medinan than losing badly at Gleneagles, so it’s going to be tough assignment for Darren and he’ll be under no illusions.
“He’s passionate about Ryder Cup and knows what it takes to put pairings together. He’ll be keeping in touch with players like Rory McIlroy and leaning on them.”
World No.1 McIlroy spoke out in support of Clarke for the job immediately after last September’s 16.5-11.5 win at Gleneagles.
“You want the support of players,” added Gallacher. “Rory will certainly be in the team and he came out and said he wanted Darren, so that made job of selectors much easier.
“I think he’ll be a hands-on captain. he’ll be a captain very much in the Paul McGinley-style.
“I’d imagine the first person Darren would speak to about being a vice captain is Miguel Angel Jimenez and also Thomas Bjorn, who is very friendly with him. He’ll also want personal friends.”
Sam Torrance, the winning captain in 2002, believes Clarke has a “tough act to follow” after McGinley’s superb leadership in Perthshire.
But the Largs man added: “I am sure he will relish it.”