sport

Clarke surprised by selection

Darren Clarke admits that Europe may need to appoint a 'heavyweight' skipper to counter the selection of Tom Watson who returns to captain the United States Ryder Cup team for a second time.

Watson will be 65 by the time the 2014 encounter takes place at Gleneagles in Scotland, as the Americans attempt to win back the trophy.

The eight-time Major winner is the most recent US captain to lead their team to victory on European soil back in 1993 at The Belfry.

Europe have triumphed in seven of the last nine Ryder Cup matches, which has forced the hand of the American PGA to re-appoint Watson.

And 43-year-old Clarke, one of the favourites to land the role for Europe - along with Paul McGinley - believes the decision to choose Watson as captain may force the hand of the home side to select a big-name former skipper themselves.

The 2011 Open champion said: "A lot of people, myself included, were surprised when Tom was appointed.

"And I think it could well affect who is appointed for Europe.

"It's a big statement and brilliant for the event as there are few more iconic figures in golf.

"He's adored in Scotland and it sends out a statement that they are very serious about winning the trophy back.

"Maybe we have to have a look and consider other people as well. Whoever stands on that stage opposite Tom Watson needs a huge presence."