McGinley's class act is tough for Clarke to follow

Wed Feb 18, 2015 7:50am EST
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By Tony Jimenez

LONDON (Reuters) - Darren Clarke could be forgiven for thinking "How do I follow THAT?" after being appointed Europe's 2016 Ryder Cup captain on Wednesday.

The 46-year-old Northern Irishman takes over as skipper from Paul McGinley and his former friend will be a tough act to follow.

McGinley, a member of the five-man panel that selected Clarke as leader, was hailed as a true inspiration by his players after plotting the downfall of Tom Watson's United States side in Scotland in September.

Several members of the European team said the Irishman had paved the way for skippers of the future with a meticulous planning style of management during which he left no stone unturned.

"Paul was absolutely fantastic," world number one Rory McIlroy said.

"The speeches he gave, the videos he showed us, the people he got in to talk us, the imagery in the team room, it all tied in together."

McGinley singled out Alex Ferguson as a key member of his backroom team at Gleneagles, and there are shades of the Scot's departure from Manchester United after a glittering 26-year spell as manager about Clarke's appointment as captain.

Ferguson was an almost impossible act to follow at Old Trafford and so it proved for his successor David Moyes who lasted 10 months before he was shown the door.   Continued...

Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland watches his tee shot on the fourth hole during the final round of the British Open Championship at the Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, northern England July 20, 2014.   REUTERS/Toby Melville