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Darren Clarke: I don't mind upsetting my friends at Ryder Cup

Lee Westwood and Darren Clarke played together in 5 Ryder Cups between 1997 and 2006. David Cannon /Allsport

Darren Clarke says he has no qualms about upsetting his friends when picking the wildcards for his European team that will defend the Ryder Cup at Hazeltine in September.

The captain's picks have for many years caused friction between players -- perhaps most famously in 2008 when Thomas Bjorn described his friendship with Ian Woosnam as "completely dead" after being left out of the team by the Welshman.

And with the likes of Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter looking like they'll need to be picked, Clarke insists his "ruthless streak" won't leave him calling on his close friends if someone else is more deserving.

"How could I possibly do that? The Ryder Cup is much, much more important than an old pals' act," he told the Daily Mail. "That does not happen. Under no circumstances would I let myself. That's not going to happen. No chance.

"I would have no problem with saying to Lee I was picking a rookie instead of him for a wildcard. Lee would be my best mate but I would have no problem. Why? Because it's for the team. It's not individuals. You have got to manage individuals' egos but the team is there together.

"The wildcards could be difficult decisions. The phone calls to the guys that don't make the team -- especially if I am very close to them -- that will be very difficult. But that's what I have to do. That's part of the job. It's part of the remit. But to have to do that, I have no issue with that at all. It wouldn't cost me a thought.

"It could cost me friendships. That may well be the case. But I have to do what I have to do for the betterment of the European Tour. It's a position where tough decisions have to be made and when the Tour afforded me the honour of being captain, those decisions come along with it. Sentiment? There is no place for sentiment in getting the best team possible.

"There is a ruthless streak to me. Very much so. If you were to analyse successful professional golfers, if they are not ruthless, they are not successful. It's as simple as that. Our job and our profession demands selfishness and ruthlessness and inner desire."

"The Ryder Cup is much, much more important than an old pals' act. Under no circumstances would I let myself. No chance."

Europe's 2016 Ryder Cup captain Darren Clarke

Clarke also revealed that he settled his differences with Europe's Ryder Cup-winning captain in 2014, Paul McGinley, in a lengthy conversation at last month's Dubai Desert Classic.

Clarke had previously backed his fellow Irishman for the Gleneagles job before putting himself forward and then backing Colin Montgomerie to go head-to-head with Tom Watson. But Clarke said: "I held my hands up and I got things wrong. Just with what was going on around that time. Did I support Monty that much? No. I was just trying to do what I thought was the right thing for the team. I wasn't against Paul. I just saw options."

He added: "We had a great conversation and I apologised to him.

"I got accused of all sorts of bits and pieces, which were incorrect at the time. There was no point in me saying a word because I wasn't going to go anywhere with it. All I was concerned about was doing the right thing for Europe and things got twisted and taken out of my hands.

"I let things go. I have moved on. I have made my peace with Paul and he was brilliant in Dubai. I can go back to him and run things past him. He said: 'Whatever you want, let me know.' By all accounts, Paul was a brilliant captain at Gleneagles so I would be foolish if I didn't try to pick his brains."