SPANISH veteran Miguel Angel Jimenez has admitted his disappointment at being overlooked for the European Ryder Cup captaincy but backed Darren Clarke to succeed in the role.
Open winner Clarke, 46, was this week named the man to mastermind Europe’s title defence at Hazeltine next year, beating rivals Jimenez and Dane Thomas Bjorn to the honour.
It has led to speculation that Jimenez’s chance may have passed, as the European Tour’s oldest winner, who has been vice-captain three times, will be 54 when the event returns to Europe in 2018.
“It’s disappointing a little bit. I’ve been there for so many years on tour, this is my 27th season, played several Ryder Cups and been vice-captain in some other ones,” he said. “I make a lot from the tour all these years and I think it’s a little disappointing not to be captain, but I feel happy on the other hand for Darren because Darren will do a very good job.
“He deserves to be the Ryder Cup captain as much as I do. I would love to do it one day but I am happy for Darren because he has done a lot for the Tour as well.
“I sent him a text last night just to say well done and that I know he will do a great job.”
Jimenez, who shot a one-under-par 70 to lie five off the lead on day one of the Indian Open yesterday, believes he could yet play a part in the next Ryder Cup – as a player.
“To me the Ryder Cup is very important and I will always want to be involved in some way,” he added. “I suppose the best way for me to be involved is by taking my clubs. You never know, maybe you will see me at the next one with my clubs.”