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Nick Faldo gains Ryder Cup Captaincy support

Lee Westwood and Darren Clarke, members of Europe's victorious 2004 Ryder Cup team, have backed Nick Faldo to captain the defence in Ireland next year.

Irishman Clarke qualified his support by saying that he would be equally happy if Ian Woosnam, the other leading candidate, took charge but Westwood is squarely backing Faldo.

"Faldo has done it all and will have the respect of everybody on the tour. I think he should do it in 2006 and Woosie get it in 2008 in the States," the Briton told a news conference on Thursday in the Forest of Arden, England.

Faldo is the leading points-scorer in Ryder Cup history and has won six major titles to Woosnam's one but the Welshman is marginally favourite.

"There's no doubt that Woosie is more popular on the tour but I think Faldo deserves it because of what he has done," said Westwood, who partnered Faldo at his first Ryder Cup match in 1997 in Valderrama, Spain.

Faldo was for years considered aloof by many on the European circuit as he launched a dedicated pursuit of success during the late 1980s and 1990s.

"Sure, there is an anti-Faldo feeling among some. He was seen as aloof but that was because he was so singled-minded back then," Westwood added.

"That should certainly not count against him now."

The Americans announced Tom Lehman as their skipper shortly after Hal Sutton's men crashed to a record 18 ½-9 ½ defeat to Bernhard Langer's Europe at Oakland Hills last September.

Europe have taken their time to make up their minds and it was only on Wednesday that Langer announced he had finally decided not to seek another match as captain.

The new captain is expected to be announced at next month's Dubai Desert Classic.

Clarke, a member of the committee which will choose the skipper, was more guarded.

"I think Bernhard has made the right choice. He realised that whatever he does again it (the 2004 victory) will never be repeated in quite the same way.

"I would say it should be between Woosie and Faldo. I think both would do a fantastic job and there is an enormous respect for them both.

"If you look at experience you would slightly favour Nick but Woosie probably has a better relationship among the players."

Sandy Lyle and Jose Maria Olazabal are also candidates for the post but are considered big outsiders.


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