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Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 August 2006, 09:04 GMT 10:04 UK
Woods encourages Clarke to play
Tiger Woods and Darren Clarke
Woods hopes Clarke makes himself available for the Ryder Cup
Tiger Woods has encouraged Darren Clarke to make himself available for next month's Ryder Cup in Ireland.

Clarke has yet to return to the sport following the death of his wife Heather from cancer earlier this month.

Woods, who is currently visiting the K Club with his US team-mates, told BBC Sport: "I think it would be huge for all of Ireland to see Darren here.

"I personally think it would be good for Darren to play before the Ryder Cup to get over some of the pain."

It is believed that European Ryder Cup captain Ian Woosnam will offer Clarke one of the two wildcard slots this Sunday.

If Clarke is emotionally right he is then expected to play in the Madrid Open on 14-17 September.

"Because of what he and all his family and friends are trying do deal with, I hope he plays," said Woods.

I know it would be a better Ryder Cup if he were part of it

Tom Lehman

"But it's going to be an emotional week for all of us. I'm close to Darren. He is one of my good friends.

"I think it would be great for him to get involved in a team atmosphere where we are one big family.

"Darren's not only a good friend of mine, but a lot of players on the American team.

"For him to have gone through what he has gone through, you do not want to wish that on anybody."

US captain Tom Lehman is also understanding of Clarke's position and says that the decision lies with the player himself.

"I have thought lot about him over the past number of weeks," said Lehman. "Whether he chooses to play or not to play is his decision, and it will be the right decision.

"But I know it would be a better Ryder Cup if he were part of it."

Funeral for Ryder Cup star's wife
17 Aug 06 |  Northern Ireland
K Club calling
21 Aug 06 |  Golf


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