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Last Updated: Monday, 21 August 2006, 06:51 GMT 07:51 UK
Clarke in line for Ryder Cup spot
Darren Clarke
Darren Clarke has played in three winning European teams
Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke is expected to get a wildcard to play in next month's Ryder Cup at the K Club.

Sandy Lyle, one of European captain Ian Woosnam's assistants, believes the Welshman will pick Clarke, whose wife Heather died from cancer on 13 August.

He said: "I am surprised about all the speculation regarding whether or not he will be involved. Of course he will.

"Darren is very important to the team. He is one of our very best players and has a great record in the event."

Woosnam will name his two wildcards at the conclusion of the final qualifying event, the BMW International Open in Munich, on 3 September.

I'm sure Darren will want to get back into the routine

Sandy Lyle
Clarke, a Ryder Cup regular since 1997 and a veteran of three European victories, is then given two weeks to decide whether to play.

Reports suggested Woosnam would select three men for two wildcard places, keeping one unnamed player as a replacement should Clarke opt not to play.

But Lyle believes the Northern Irishman will be keen to take part.

"Heather's death is a tragedy but it wasn't sudden and I'm sure Darren will want to get back into the routine," he added.

"He has already indicated he wants to play in Madrid before the Ryder Cup and I am sure he will want to play in front of an Irish gallery at the K Club."

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