Clarke humbled by support

Lee Westwood, current world number one Rory McIlroy and former US Open champion Graeme McDowell were strong supporters from the start for Clarke.

The Northern Irishman was the unanimous choice of the five-man selection panel ahead of Miguel Angel Jimenez and Thomas Bjorn.

"(It was) hugely important," Clarke, 46, told media. "A lot of people came out in support of me, which is very flattering. Most of the guys have been on the previous team, they are nearly all good friends anyway.

"They have known me and I've played with them for many years on Tour – maybe Rory not so many years on Tour, he's not out there that long but I've known him for a long time.

"I know all the guys really well. I'd like to consider them all friends of mine and so that makes things a little bit easier. But certainly to have them coming out and supporting me was very special," he added.

Even though their relationship is not a good one Clarke will consult 2014 captain Paul McGinley following his widely praised leadership at Gleneagles.

"It would be very foolish for me not to follow the same formula," added Clarke. "With everything that came out of Gleneagles and the unbelievable job that Paul did there, I would be foolish not to speak to Paul and all the other captains before that.

"The team bonding and spirit they had at Gleneagles is obviously something I would love to replicate. I will try to pick off as much information as I can from all the previous captains. I think it would be very remiss of me if I didn't do that to try and pick out the bits that they thought worked best for the teams," said Clarke.

"At the end of the day it's not about me – it's about the players and to try and make sure the team has an enjoyable week, which is quite difficult in a stressful atmosphere that the Ryder Cup is. But if the guys are relaxed and enjoy themselves, that always helps a little bit more.

"Certainly with the teams that I have been involved in, both as a player and vice-captain, that has been a huge factor," he added.

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