Eleven years ago Darren Clarke battled Davis Love III for 21 holes in the WGC Match Play semifinals with Love ultimately earning the task of playing Tiger Woods in the finals (he lost). Later that year Love and Clarke matched up twice in the Ryder Cup matches at Oakland Hills in Michigan, as part of the Friday morning foursomes and in the singles matches. Their Sunday match was the only one to end halved in an otherwise dominant 18 ½ to 9 ½ victory for the Europeans. Tuesday it was made official Love will join Clarke in 2016 at Hazeltine as Ryder Cup captains. Here’s a quick-look at the men who will lead teams into Minnesota in 19 months.
Love: North Carolina
Clarke: Wake Forest
Love: 1 (1997 PGA Championship)
Clarke: 1 (2011 British Open)
Love: In his 13th major championship start finished T11 at the ’91 US Open with bookend rounds of 70 and 71
Clarke: Rebounded from an opening-round 76 to shoot 70 in Round 2 of the 2002 PGA Championship but missed the cut by a stroke
Ryder Cup experience
Love: Seven (’93, ’95, ’97, ’99, ’02, ’04; Captain in ’12)
Clarke: Five (’97, ’99, ’02, ’04, ’06)
Ryder Cup career record
Love: “I offered to be the cart guy [or] towel boy for the Ryder Cup. I love it.”
Clarke: “The Ryder Cup has been a massive part of my life and my career. To have the chance to lead Europe next year is a huge honor”
What they're saying
About Love: The US have declared a fresh start by appointing – wait for it – the captain who blew a 10-6 lead on the last day at Medinah in 2012. – Paul Hayward, Daily Telegraph.
About Clarke: [He’s] the perfect man to lead our team there. – Rory McIlroy