Clarke was one of Colin Montgomerie's vice-captains in Wales last October and says of possibly taking charge one day: "It is definitely still an ambition.
"And if I get the opportunity to be Ryder Cup captain, possibly I may have a little bit more respect from players having been a major champion.
"When I'm possibly going to be captain I don't know. It may or may not put my aspirations back a couple of years from when I thought I may have been."
Jose Maria Olazabal will lead the team in Chicago in 14 months' time, and Dubliner Paul McGinley, at 44 two years older than Clarke, is favourite for Gleneagles in 2014.
Ulsterman Clarke's popularity in America would make him a candidate for Hazeltine in Minnesota in 2016, when he would be 48.
Clarke's last playing involvement was five years ago, when he had a stunning three wins out of three in Europe's victory a mere six weeks after his wife Heather lost her breast cancer fight.
His triumph at Sandwich does not help him, though, in terms of gathering points for next year's team. The qualifying race does not start until September.
"In saying that, I am a major champion," he added. "Jose Maria will be paying attention, as he always does, so we'll see where that brings me."