Captain Clarke makes positive impression in EurAsia Cup victory

Europe celebrate EurAsia Cup success

Europe celebrate EurAsia Cup success

He’s bound to face more testing times at the Ryder Cup but Darren Clarke’s EurAsia Cup experience appeared to go off without a hitch.
Europe, with Clarke at the helm, produced a dominant performance and everyone associated with the team left Kuala Lumpur with their reputations intact if not exactly enhanced.
And while it’s easy to dismiss the Asian team as ‘weak’ you can, as the sports pundits put it – ‘only beat what’s put in front of you’.
Darren’s leadership style, certainly to the outside, appeared to be relatively relaxed. He seemed to put a lot of emphasis on creating the right atmosphere within the group, but he was also determined to win and put victory ahead of simply planning for Hazeltine.
“I couldn’t ask more from my team than they have given me. I’ve asked them to enjoy themselves,” he said.

“I hope they played well; they have played well. Match-play golf can be a very tricky format. The team so far have played really, really well. They have bonded well as a team. I don’t think I would change anything at all with what they have done.”

The EurAsia Cup format – with everyone playing all three days – also worked in Darren’s favour. It gave him the chance to focus on what makes a good pairing rather than worry about who to leave out.
Unfortunately, he’s not going to have that luxury come September and he’ll only really know if he’s created the right atmosphere in the Ryder Cup team when he’s forced to leave someone out.
That’s for the future, in this case, and given that Europe performed so well, everyone was fulsome in their praise for Clarke’s efforts.

Andy Sullivan; “It’s been an absolutely fantastic week. The whole team has been unbelievable in the team room. Clarkey has been immense, not left a stone unturned. The way we have gone out and done things, it shows how much we want to be in that Ryder Cup team and how much we want to lift that EurAsia Cup.”

Shane Lowry; “Definitely one of the best weeks of my career so far. I really enjoyed every minute of it. Lads have been great. Darren has been great. The team room has been just the best craic ever. Just one of these weeks where you’ll always remember it.”

Soren Kjeldsen; It’s just been so nice to be part of a team, and to have Darren and Poulter and Westwood every night standing up, explaining what’s the challenges of tomorrow, and the fire in their eyes. We have all seen it on TV for The Ryder Cup and that, but you could really sense this week that it was massive for them, as well, and I think that lifted all of us.”

Clarke recognises that there are more challenging times to come but the EurAsia Cup display has given him a very strong platform as he approaches the rest of the Ryder Cup qualification period, the inevitable wild card debate and the event itself.
He knows there are some areas that need further consideration and is planning a debrief with his team in the coming weeks.
“I think there’s a lot of things that I’ve learnt this week. Time being one of them, I don’t have an awful lot of it,” added Darren.
“There have been a lot of positives this week. Obviously looking towards some Ryder Cup things that’s going to come together. I’ve learnt a few things, and hopefully I’ll do a better job come September. But if the players don’t play and don’t perform, you can be the best captain in the world and you’re not going to win.
“I’ve enjoyed it immensely. It’s been a wonderful learning experience for me. I’ve been around the game a long time and done most things in the game and been fortunate to do so.
“This is different. I really enjoyed it. The guys seemed to listen to what I had to say, and if my little part of it has helped them along, then so be it.”

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