Darren Clarke's Ryder Cup thoughts: "It might not be the worst thing for the event if the Americans did win"

Darren Clarke's Ryder Cup thoughts: "It might not be the worst thing for the event if the Americans did win"
 Darren Clarke is looking forward to returning to the US Tour., he tells Scotland on Sunday. He's also inclined to believe that a US Ryder Cup win at Gleneagles might not be a bad thing. Picture ©  Volvo in Golf

Darren Clarke is looking forward to returning to the US Tour., he tells Scotland on Sunday. He's also inclined to believe that a US Ryder Cup win at Gleneagles might not be a bad thing. Picture © Volvo in Golf

In theory, Darren Clarke could still qualify for September's Ryder Cup. If he hasn't given up all hope, it's not quite clear from his Scotland on Sunday interview. What is clear is that while the world No 272 would like to see another European victory, he understands that "it might not be the worst thing for the event if the Americans did win."

Given the deterioration in their relationship even before their fraught battle for the captaincy, it also appears abundantly clear that barring a sensational turnaround in form, Clarke will not be one of Paul McGinley's wildcards or even an assistant at Gleneagles in September. 

But as the 2011 Open champion told John Huggan, he's already turned down an NBC commentary box gig for Gleneagles, describing it as “not my thing.” Perhaps our next sighting of Clarke at a Ryder Cup will come if he happens to land the 2016 captaincy for Hazeltine. Or perhaps we've seen the end of him at that level.

Either way, the Scotland on Sunday interview covers a range of topics, such as his opposition to the recent changes in equipment technology which have allowed inferior ball-strikers to prosper - "I’d still like to see us all playing with persimmon woods and blade irons, but that battle has long been lost" - to his decision to return to the PGA Tour and his love of America and Americans.

As for his views on the Ryder Cup, you get the impression that he believes that Europe's luck might be running out after winning five of the last six and seven of the last nine matches. 

“I think the Ryder Cup will be very tight, as it has tended to be recently,” he continues. “There’s a long way to go, but it already looks like the European team might have a few new – and old – faces. Victor Dubuisson, Jamie Donaldson and Joost Luitten all have a good chance to make it. Plus, Thomas Bjorn and Henrik Stenson are almost there already.

“What is the same at this stage – as it always is – is that the European team looks a bit unsettled and the American team looks strong. But it doesn’t matter. At the end of September, the matches will be close. I would like to see another European victory but I can see the argument that it might not be the worst thing for the event if the Americans did win. They are due a break. In the last two cups the Europeans have had the good bounces at just the right moments. But, sooner or later, the Americans will get a wee bit of luck when they need it.”

As for his own game, he tells Huggan why, as a stickler for tradition, he's shunned the belly putter - "It took me long enough to put a hybrid in my bag, never mind a long putter” - and that his lack of patience continues to cost him.

Clarke might have lost three stones but he remains a heavyweight for many and, as he says himself when talking about his game, his own worst enemy.