January 15, 2013 / 9:46 AM / 5 years ago

Clarke pulls out of Ryder Cup captaincy race

Golfer Darren Clarke holds his OBE, for services to golf, which was awarded to him by Britain's Queen Elizabeth during an Investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace in central London November 21, 2012. REUTERS/John Stillwell/Pool

ABU DHABI (Reuters) - Former British Open champion Darren Clarke has pulled out of the race to succeed Spaniard Jose Maria Olazabal as Europe’s Ryder Cup captain.

“I have been to see (Players Committee chairman) Thomas Bjorn and formally informed him I do not want to be considered for the Ryder Cup captaincy in 2014,” the Northern Irishman told reporters on Tuesday.

“It was not a spur of the moment decision. I have been agonising over what to do since I showed a few glimpses of my old form in Thailand and Australia at the end of last year.”

Clarke’s withdrawal leaves the way clear for a two-horse race between former skipper Colin Montgomerie and Ireland’s Paul McGinley.

The Players Committee meet in Abu Dhabi later on Tuesday and are expected to announce the new Ryder Cup captain.

Clarke, the 2011 British Open champion, was also a front-runner for the job until his odds lengthened when he hinted last week he wanted another shot at playing in the team.

Olazabal led Europe to a remarkable comeback victory over the United States at the 2012 Ryder Cup in Illinois.

Editing by Pritha Sarkar

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