Monty's quandary is so unnecessary
While Corey Pavin says he is going to enjoy the process of deciding his Ryder Cup wildcard picks, it is hard to imagine his European opposite number feeling the same.
Colin Montgomerie is in an impossible position as he considers the three players he will select to complete Europe's 12-man team to take on the United States at Celtic Manor at the beginning of October.
The Scot's predicament is somewhat of his own making, while the politics of the European game and the indifference of some of the continent's leading players are also to blame.
Four of the five leading candidates for Europe's wildcard places are competing in the first FedEx Cup play-off tournament in New York, with three of the FedEx Four having passed up the chance of fighting for an automatic Ryder Cup slot in the final qualifying event here at Gleneagles.
With a decent display in Scotland this week, Paul Casey, Padraig Harrington and Luke Donald could have made it into the side without needing a captain's pick. Justin Rose's chances were gone but he is a realistic contender for winning the US money list.
And then there's Scottish Open champion Eduardo Molinari, who has done everything asked of him by Europe's skipper in terms of tournament entries and has climbed a place above Rose to 21st in the world rankings.
The Italian is here at Gleneagles and rightly believes he is deserving of a pick. Furthermore if Europe's selection process had been more sensible he would still have had the chance of an automatic spot.
But to give Montgomerie the third wildcard selection he craved, the tournament committee reduced the number of players coming from the world ranking points list from five to four. Molinari would go to fifth on that list were he to win the Johnnie Walker Championship here.
Donald currently occupies that spot and were he to remain there logic says he must make the team. Monty surely didn't want his extra selection option to be able to drop the world number 10, did he?
Furthermore, consider the effort Donald made to secure a place by coming over to Europe in the spring, playing the Wales Open - where he finished third, a week after winning the Madrid Masters.
He's a natural partner for Casey too. They won the World Cup together in 2004 and Donald's brother Christian carries Casey's bag.
So I would argue Donald has the strongest claim of the stay-aways. Casey's head-to-head record (2006 World Matchplay champion and back-to-back finals in the WGC Matchplay) makes him a strong candidate too.
But he was a wildcard two years ago and managed just two halves in three appearances at Valhalla. And should Casey have been more supportive of the Tour having been a recipient of a captain's pick?
Monty instinctively would consider making that a factor judging by the way the skipper castigated the other selection in 2008, Ian Poulter, for not showing up at last year's Vivendi Trophy.
On the other hand the captain has always been a great admirer of Casey's game and the odds suggest a pick for the Englishman.
Rose's greatest strength, aside from his success in the US this season, is his relationship with Poulter and they are a natural pairing. They won two out of three of the matches they played together two years ago and are firm friends.
So on that basis, Monty goes for Donald, Casey and Rose. But that means three-time major winner Harrington and the loyal Molinari missing out.
Harrington hasn't won a Ryder Cup match since 2004 and hasn't had much of a year, but was second at the recent Irish Open. He partnered Monty at Oakland Hills and at the Belfry in 2002.
They go back a long way and the word in the caddie shack (Monty's favourite haunt) is that Europe's leader is looking for experience. That provides a big tick in the Harrington box.
Molinari, on the other hand, would be the perfect partner for his brother Francesco who looks certain to be making his Ryder Cup debut at Celtic Manor. They're the reigning World Cup winners and would help each other settle in as rookies.
So who do you leave out?
Surely the answer is to select the players the Americans would least like to face. Two years ago the then US captain Paul Azinger felt the need to go out to dinner to celebrate Faldo's omission of Darren Clarke, such was his fear of the Ulsterman's influence.
It is time for Harrington to step into the role of on-course leader. Europe didn't have one last time and they'll need one in Wales, especially as the ideal candidate, Lee Westwood, is likely to be pre-occupied with nursing himself back after injury.
Go for the Irishman - even though he looks vulnerable now - and publicly challenge him to perform that role.
Also go with Donald; his steadiness is much admired in the US and the Americans are also more than aware of how dangerous Casey can be.
Harrington and the two Englishmen are the three players most likely to worry Pavin and his team.
And please don't let Europe get into this position again. If you want to assemble the strongest side, it is wrong to make the leading points-scorers in the world ranking the first to qualify.
Switch the formula and make the leading money-winners on Tour the first five names on the team. Then have the leading five world points-accumulators.
There is no need for more than two picks.
If this was the formula now, the 10 qualifiers would be: Westwood, Martin Kaymer, Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell and Poulter from the money list and Donald, Eduardo Molinari, Harrington, Rose and Francesco Molinari from the world points. Casey and AN Other would be the picks.
It is a stronger line-up than the one that will go to Celtic Manor and Monty's week would be nowhere near as fraught.