Ryder Cup captain chatter reaches fever pitch

Colin Montgomerie, Thomas Bjorn, Darren Clarke, Paul McGinley
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Colin Montgomerie (l), Paul McGinley (r) and Darren Clarke (second r) all likely will be discussed as potential 2014 Ryder Cup captains by the European Tour Tournament Committee, which is chaired by Thomas Bjorn (second l).

Series: Golf Buzz

Published: Sunday, January 13, 2013 | 11:46 p.m.

The European Tour’s powerful Tournament Committee meets Tuesday evening at the HSBC Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, and could select the 2014 European Ryder Cup captain at that get-together. With that possibility looming, the world of European golf was overflowing with Ryder Cup chatter.

It’s not clear how much input that Rory McIlroy has, but he capped off the weekend by voicing his opinion in favor of Paul McGinley.

"Ryder Cup captaincy should be a 1-time thing," the Northern Irishman said on Twitter. "Everybody deserving gets their chance and moves on. Would love to play under Paul McGinley in '14."

That makes it clear that McIlroy doesn’t support two of the names floating about – victorious 2010 Captain Colin Montgomerie and victorious 2012 Captain Jose Maria Olazabal.

Olazabal, for his part, shot down his own trial balloon as soon as it was floated.

"I would never do it again," Olazabal said in Durban, South Africa, where he was competing in the Volvo Golf Champions. "First of all it's a lot of energy and time, a huge demand and the pressure is quite big. It's a different pressure, not one we are used to out there playing on the course. The media scrutinize everything you say and every possibility.

"On top of that, I've done it and it couldn't have been any better," he added, as he noted that there are enough good candidates in the pipeline so that no captain should serve more than once. "Even if it was held in Spain again somewhere down the line I, wouldn't do it."

Montogmerie, however, said he would serve again if asked, and his name seemed to rise to the top of the possibilities list, just ahead of McGinley and Darren Clarke.

"I am excited and honored and very flattered really that my name's been put in the frame," said Montgomerie, who also played in the Volvo Golf Champions.

"I've always said that we need the best man for the job, whoever that is," he added. "And if we're going for the best man for the job, then that doesn't say you shouldn't do it again."

For what it's worth, Montgomerie didn't campaign for the 2010 job, and was somewhat of a surprise choice because his name was brought up so late in the selection process. At the time the prevailing opinion was that he would get the 2014 job we're talking about now because the Ryder Cup will be played at Gleneagles in his native Scotland.

Clarke himself recently raised the possibility of a second go-round for Montgomerie while also essentially taking himself out of contention for 2014.

"As much as I would dearly love to be captain, this may not be my time," he said. "I won one of the biggest prizes in golf by winning The Open and I am exempt for another three years (in the States).

"If I was given the opportunity to do the captaincy, I'd effectively be throwing two of those years away," he added. "I'm still wrestling with it. It's a tough one for me, but to be honest with you I want to play golf."

For the last year or so, Clarke has been favored to serve as captain for the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine, and that seems more of a possibility now. There is also the possibility that Europe could go ahead and name its 2014 and 2016 captains at the same time – Ian Woosnam (2006) Nick Faldo (2008) were named at the same time back in 2005.

About the only voice not heard this weekend was McGinley's, and it seems like he and Monty now stand as the top two options. Making things even more interesting is that both Monty and McGinley are on the Tournament Committee, so they'll have front-row seats for whatever goes down.