The major no-no Clarke must avoid if Europe are to win Ryder Cup

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Arguably the most important job of a captain at the Ryder Cup is to correctly identify which players will work well in partnerships.

Decisions could be made based on nationalities, well-balanced skillsets such as a long-distance driver with a reliable putter, Ryder Cup experience pairing a rookie with a veteran or temperament by opting to partner a hothead with a calming influence.

However, if Europe are to defy Ryder Cup odds of 15/8 to triumph at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Minnesota, which would represent their fourth successive victory in the event, captain Darren Clarke must avoid making one particular decision.

Pairing two non-Brits in the foursomes has been a near-certain way of haemorrhaging points to the US across the seven previous Ryder Cups this century.

There have been 11 examples from 2002 onwards of a European team participating in the foursomes to have included two players from outside of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and the record is one win, two halves and eight defeats.

The sole victory dates back to Padraig Harrington and Paul McGinley beating Tiger Woods and Davis Love III in 2002, while in the last three victorious Ryder Cup instalments, two non-Brits playing in the foursomes together has brought three defeats.

In contrast, the record of two Brits in the foursomes across 2010, 2012 and 2014 stands at eight wins and three defeats from 11 attempts.

One of the most expected pairings for 2016 is that of Spanish duo Sergio Garcia and Rafa Cabrera Bello, largely because of their shared nationality and blend of youth and experience.

There is also the hope that the duo could replicate the success of Seve Ballesteros and a debuting Jose Maria Olazabal from 1987, when the pair combined for three points from a possible four across the foursomes and fourballs at Muirfield Village in Ohio.

However, based on recent results, this looks a wrong move in the foursomes at least.

Alongside the two Spaniards, Clarke also has Henrik Stenson, Martin Kaymer and Thomas Pieters as his non-British players.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.