Delight but Clarke aims to play.
DARREN CLARKE expressed his "honour" and "delight" at joining Paul McGinley and Thomas Bjorn as assistants to captain Colin Montgomerie in October's Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor.
McGinley and Bjorn always looked top of the list after being opposing captains at last September's Vivendi Trophy match - Continental Europe versus Britain and Ireland - but Clarke is the surprise addition.
He was runner-up in the Scottish Open two weeks ago and is 21st in the points race.
That means he could still make the team - and he confirmed that if that happens he will play and Montgomerie will need someone else.
"Monty would want me to play - there's no question of that," he said.
Montgomerie originally expressed his wish for Jose Maria Olazabal to join him and repeat the role he did under Sir Nick Faldo in the defeat two years ago.
Olazabal was luke-warm to the idea in any case, but because of rheumatic pains he did not make his first appearance on the European Tour this year until the French Open three weeks ago.
And because of that Montgomerie decided he wanted three people who were out playing on the Tour week-in week-out.
"The Ryder Cup is about passion, commitment and will to win - and all three men I have named possess those qualities in abundance," said Montgomerie.
"They are vastly-experienced players who have the respect and admiration of everyone in golf.
"They are all committed to regaining the Ryder Cup, which is important for us and the European Tour."
Clarke was, of course, hero of the 2006 victory only a month after his wife Heather died of breast cancer.
Montgomerie first approached him two weeks ago, but it was at The Open that the Ulsterman agreed to come on board.
Montgomerie and Clarke were team-mates in five matches, winning four of them.
A PROUD MAN: Irish golfer Darren Clarke