Michael Hoey says Darren Clarke is the perfect man to lead Europe to Ryder Cup glory next year in America.
The Ulster European Tour star was speaking at the launch of this year’s Northern Ireland Open at Galgorm Castle at Campsey.
The Ryder Cup captain needs to be someone with a big personality and Darren certainly fits the bill,” he said.
“And I think that’s even more important when the cup is played in the US.
“They do like him over there with the cigar smoking and the good craic.
“But he works a lot harder than a lot of people think - he’s not just a party animal.
“He will cut a recognisable figure over there as well, which I think is important for a Ryder Cup captain.
“That’s not to say the other candidates wouldn’t have done a good job, but Darren has a bigger presence.
“He’s been around the game a long time and he’ll do a great job.”
Hoey has won five times on the European Tour but he is yet to make a Ryder Cup team and that remains one of his great ambitions in the game.
“I was playing with Paul McGinley a couple of week ago in Kuala Lumpur and we were talking about that,” he added.
“He was saying that watching me he didn’t feel I was that far away from really making a breakthrough - maybe tighten up the chipping and the putting a little.
“I do need to be more consistent in the bigger tournaments and I know there is a long way to go, but playing in a Ryder Cup is something you dream about as a player.
“It was a confidence boost to hear that from Paul who was so impressive as captain last time out.
“It’s a huge job being captain and there’s an awful lot that goes on behind the scenes but I think that Darren Clarke is the right man for the job.”
Campsie firm Sphere Global was announced as a new sponsor of the Northern Ireland Open which has broken all European Challenge Tour attendance records in the past two years, with 34,000 attending last year.