McDowell Ryder omission 'difficult' - Clarke

European Ryder Cup captain Darren Clarke admits it was difficult to leave his close friend Graeme McDowell out of the team to face the United States.

Former US Open champion McDowell, 37, has fallen to number 83 in the world and was not one of Clarke's three wildcard selections for Hazeltine.

"G-Mac is a good friend and I was speaking to him frequently during the qualifying process," said Clarke, 48.

"It was very difficult, but he is just not firing on all cylinders right now."

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