Ryder Cup 2012: Should Lee Westwood play all five sessions?
Lee Westwood departed the Tour Championship defiantly stating he would be ready for the Ryder Cup despite finishing dead last in the 30-man field.
Not only that, the 39-year-old who was 15 over par at East Lake, insisted he was readying himself to be in prime shape to play all five sessions against the USA.
Westwood has only missed one sequence of matches in an unbroken Ryder Cup career that stretches back to 1997.
At Medinah this week it would be no surprise if he were among those asked to do another full shift on Europe's behalf. But would that constitute sensible tactics?
Not because Westwood had such a miserable week in Atlanta, but because the demands of appearing in every session invariably undermine performance somewhere along the line.
"It's a tiring week. With 36 holes Friday and Saturday hopefully, it can take it out of you," Westwood said.
Naturally every player wants to compete in every session - that's part of any elite performer's DNA and they feel they can live with the inevitable fatigue. But captains have to dispassionately decide on each player's workload.
Will European Ryder Cup captain Jose Maria Olazabal (left) select Lee Westwood for all five sessions?
In past Ryder Cups European skippers had to depend heavily on their star names and fit the lesser lights around them. In 1999 Mark James infamously didn't blood three of his rookies until the singles. The policy produced a four point lead heading into the final day but it didn't prove enough as America swept through the Sunday singles.
Nowadays there is such strength in depth on both sides that neither captain needs to flog his elite players for the entire match. All 24 at Medinah are ranked inside the world's top 35.
If Jose Maria Olazabal and Davis Love III want their golfers at their best for the final day they should tell them they are all likely to be rested at some stage.
Westwood has been on the winning team in five of his seven Ryder Cups and has played massive roles in each of those triumphs. He has amassed 19 points from 33 matches, but only two of those have come in singles.
Heroics in foursomes and fourballs have come at a cost. The same can be said of Sergio Garcia who has won only one of five final day matches.
Going back further Ian Woosnam managed only two halves from eight singles matches. Too often he was a spent force on the day the trophy was decided.
By contrast Colin Montgomerie was famously unbeaten in singles despite doing full duty in foursomes and fourballs in the majority of his eight appearances. Then again, Monty bucked most trends throughout his career.
At last year's Solheim Cup Europe's captain Alison Nicholas told her team that no one
would play all five matches. She knew it would be a close contest and believed she had sufficient strength in depth for her plan to work.
The upshot was a thrilling victory in the singles after the scores had been levelled heading into the final day and the trophy returned to European hands. Nicholas' example could be well worth following this week.
There is every reason to expect the 39th Ryder Cup to be one of the tightest contests and the challenge for both captains is to find a deciding edge.
Communicating such a policy is vital. When Westwood was dropped for the Saturday foursomes at Valhalla it was a bolt from the blue and the timing was appalling.
Captain Sir Nick Faldo told his fellow Englishman halfway through a tough Friday afternoon fourball as Westwood was striving to equal Arnold Palmer's record run of unbeaten matches.
It was a blow to Westwood's pride and nearly cost Europe the fourball where he was partnering Soren Hansen against JB Holmes and Boo Weekley.
Olazabal is far less likely to be so crass in communicating his plans. He also knows he has as strong a European line up through player one to twelve as any of his predecessors.
Love can say the same of his American team, but does he have the courage to bench his talisman Tiger Woods?
The former world number one is at his most effective in the singles and hasn't lost since falling to Costantino Rocca on debut in 1997. By contrast he has delivered only nine and half points from 23 matches in foursomes and fourballs.
Woods' likely pairing with Steve Stricker looks like being a potent combination but will they be expected to play 36 holes on each of the first two days?
The re-jigging of the weather affected schedule at Celtic Manor two years ago meant that no one could play more than four matches. With the weather set fair here in Chicago there appears no chance of a repeat scenario.
It will be down to the captains to decide how many matches their charges will play. It might just be that less means more.