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Darren Clarke out of running for European Ryder Cup captain

Darren Clarke, 2013 Abu Dhabi Championship
Matthew Lewis/Getty Images
Darren Clarke says he wants to focus on his own game instead of being the European Ryder Cup captain in 2014.

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) --- Darren Clarke is out of the running for Europe's Ryder Cup captain, saying Tuesday he wants to concentrate on his golf.

The decision by the 2011 British Open champion wasn't a surprise after hinting last week he might withdraw. But with Clarke advising the European Tour's tournament committee of his decision, it makes it a two-man race ahead of the vote in Abu Dhabi later Tuesday.

The favorite for the job is Paul McGinley, who faces a late challenge from former captain Colin Montgomerie.

McGinley received the backing of top-ranked Rory McIlroy, who has aggressively campaigned for the 46-year-old Irishman and raised concerns about Montgomerie leading the team for a second time. Other players, including third-ranked Luke Donald, have also endorsed McGinley.

Clarke said he informed Thomas Bjorn, chairman of the players committee, that he did not "want to be considered for the Ryder Cup captaincy in 2014."

"It was not a spur of the moment decision," Clarke said. "I have been agonizing over what to do since I showed a few glimpses of my old form in Thailand and Australia at the end of last year."

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