Clarke backing

Bookmakers make Darren Clarke slight favourite in two-horse race with Paul McGinley for European captaincy.

By Tim Clement - Twitter: @SkyTimClement.   Last Updated: 10/10/12 5:34pm

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Darren Clarke: Favourite to lead Europe in 2014

Darren Clarke: Favourite to lead Europe in 2014

Sky Bet

Darren Clarke has been backed into favouritism to be Europe's next Ryder Cup captain despite denying he has been offered the role.

Clarke, who was a vice-captain for this year's victory in Chicago, refuted suggestions that he has been offered the role via his Twitter page on Wednesday, but admitted it would be a "huge honour if asked".

Sky Bet have consequently cut the Northern Irishman's 2014 Ryder Cup captaincy odds from 6/1 to evens, with Paul McGinley, who was their early favourite, drifting out to 5/4 in what appears to be a two-horse race.

Lee Westwood has also talked up Clarke's chances, pointing to his extra experience having featured in five editions of the event compared to McGinley's three, while also holding claim to a major championship title.

Good candidates

Next Europe captain odds

Darren Clarke 1/1
Paul McGinley 5/4
Colin Montgomerie 7/1
Thomas Bjorn 12/1
Miguel Angel Jimenez 20/1
Paul Lawrie 20/1
Jose Maria Olazabal 25/1
Bet here.

"There are a lot of good candidates but if I was asked to pick I would pick Darren," the Englishman said. "He's been a Ryder Cup stalwart for many years."

Colin Montgomerie is the 8/1 third favourite despite no captain taking the role back on after relinquishing it in over half a century, while Thomas Bjorn is 12/1 followed by Miguel Angel Jimenez and Paul Lawrie (both 20/1).

Sky Bet's Ned Brooker said: "Both Clarke and McGinley look ideal candidates for the role and it's going to be a tough decision to make.

"Rory McIlroy raised an interesting point in that Clarke's character would make him the ideal man to lead Europe in the USA in four years' time, so the smart money could be with backing McGinley for the one in Gleneagles."

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