Professional / Euro Tour

Tait: Darren Clarke follows in Paul McGinley’s footsteps with five Ryder Cup vice captains

Darren Clarke
Darren Clarke (Getty Images)

European Ryder Cup captain Darren Clarke has added Sam Torrance to his backroom staff for the match at Hazeltine in September. The Scot joins Thomas Bjorn, Padraig Harrington, Paul Lawrie and Ian Poulter as vice captains.

Clarke just needs another seven vice captains and all 12 European players will have their own personal attendants. We appear to be heading that way.

European Ryder Cup captains seemingly can’t win without a slew of lieutenants to make sure players are supplied with water bottles, dry towels and even service if they suddenly get hungry on the ninth tee.

Or maybe Clarke needs five vice captains so he can sneak off for a game of golf on Saturday morning and no one will notice.

Clarke is following in Paul McGinley’s footsteps. The Dubliner had five assistants at Gleneagles two years ago, one more than Jose Maria Olazabal had at Medinah in 2012. McGinley choose five so he had one for each match during the first four sessions of four-ball and foursomes, and one to babysit, er, take care of the four players sitting out each session.

So Clarke is only following a proven formula. Europe has won three consecutive matches in the biennial series and six of the past seven, trimming the Americans’ overall lead to 25-13-2.

Torrance, 62, brings a wealth of experience to the job. He captained the 2002 European team to victory, as well as playing in eight consecutive matches from 1981 to 1995.

However, a team of six to oversee 12 players seems like overkill in a match that has grown beyond all proportion.

Four-time European captain Tony Jacklin must lie awake at night wondering how he ever led Europe to success in the 1980s with just Bernard Gallacher to do all the dog work.

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