Seven weeks before the 2016 Ryder Cup, European captain Darren Clarke celebrated his 48th birthday at the swank Abaco Club on Winding Bay in the Bahamas. The remote enclave has become a second home of sorts for the Northern Ireland native since he first visited in 2004, a place where he can enjoy a few of his favorite things: golf, the beach, and chasing tarpon. “There’s no other place like this in the world,” Clarke said.
Still, the magnitude of the job that awaited him at Hazeltine National at the end of September was never far from his mind. At a beach bar overlooking the turquoise waters of Winding Bay, Clarke spoke about the pressure of being a captain’s pick, why Tiger and Phil have struggled in the biennial event, and why Hazeltine should give fans “plenty to shout about.”