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Europe should recall a former Ryder Cup captain: Clarke

Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland watches his tee shot on the first hole during the first round of the British Open golf championship at Roy
Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland watches his tee shot on the first hole during the first round of the British Open golf championship at Roy

LONDON (Reuters) - Europe may need to recall a former captain to compete with the United States in the 2014 Ryder Cup after the Americans "put down a statement" by calling on Tom Watson, says 2011 British Open winner Darren Clarke.

A winner of eight majors, Watson's presence as captain for the match at Gleneagles shows how determined the U.S. are to reclaim the trophy and Clarke said Europe should respond with a big-name appointment, while distancing himself from the role.

Europe never ask a former captain to return but Clarke says that stance should change, offering the possibility of a return to the role for Colin Montgomerie who steered Europe to victory at Celtic Manor in 2010.

"We seriously need the right man for the job," Clarke told the BBC. "We do have an (unwritten) rule where we don't ask anybody to do it again, but we might have to look at that."

Europe are expected to name their captain early in the New Year when the tournament committee meet in Abu Dhabi.

"I think it could well affect who is appointed," said Clarke. "A lot of people, myself included, were surprised when Tom Watson was appointed.

"It's a big statement and brilliant for the event. 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."

Watson will captain his country for a second time having also led the team to victory in 1993, the last time the U.S. won on foreign soil.

(Reporting by Martyn Herman, Editing by Tom Pilcher)

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