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Last Updated: Monday, 27 November 2006, 12:20 GMT
Clarke uneasy over sympathy vote
Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke was in tears after Europe's triumph
Clarke battled with the emotion of competing at the Ryder Cup
Ryder Cup hero Darren Clarke does not want to win the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award on a sympathy vote.

Clarke, who is rated favourite to claim the prize, has also revealed he would like to be a future Ryder Cup captain.

Northern Irishman Clarke starred as Europe retained the trophy just weeks after his wife Heather died of cancer.

"If people are voting for me because my wife passed away and they feel sorry for me, I don't feel comfortable with that," he told BBC Five Live Sport.

"If I'd won a major this year, then I'd have no issues with it whatsoever.

"At the same time, if people do want to vote for me because it's 'Personality of the Year', that's fair enough, I can't really say no to that.

"There is a part of me that it doesn't sit quite right with."

Clarke had previously been given the backing of his Ryder Cup team-mate Colin Montgomerie following Europe's 18-9 victory over America at the K Club.

"It wouldn't be right if Darren won because of the tragedy he has suffered," Montgomerie told BBC Sport.

It would certainly be a challenge - but one that I would relish

Clarke on being a future Ryder Cup captain
"But to win three matches out of three was an achievement after what he had been through."

Montgomerie revealed that Clarke had been due to play in the afternoon session of the Ryder Cup first day but was too emotional to pair up with Padraig Harrington.

The Scot, who earned two points for Europe, said: "You should have seen him in the locker room after winning his first match.

"There was no way he was going back out there, that's why I took his place.

"The emotion involved at the K Club affected us all, the American team included."

Clarke, 38, plans to play in the next Ryder Cup in America in 2008, but hopes to be captain at some stage in the future.

"It would certainly be a challenge, but one that I would relish," he said.

606 VIEW
Frank K, BBC Sport

Some reports last month suggested he might actually pull out of the running for Sports Personality, but he denied this in a statement at the time.

"It would be totally disrespectful of me to withdraw and I have no intention of doing so," he said.

"I consider it a complete honour that some viewers might consider me a worthy recipient of one of sport's major awards."

Despite missing much of the season, Clarke is ranked 33 in the world.

He also won praise for effectively penalising himself a shot when his lie was improved overnight by fans following a rain delay at the Irish Open in May.

A shortlist of 10 Sports Personality contenders will be officially revealed on Monday 4 December.

Viewers will be able to vote for their favourite by text or phone during the programme, which is being broadcast from the NEC in Birmingham on Sunday 10 December.

SEE ALSO
Clarke's sporting victory
25 Sep 06 |  Golf
Classy Clarke makes his mark
24 May 06 |  Golf
New vote for Sports Personality
15 Nov 06 |  Sports Personality


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