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Clarke Ryder captain-elect but McGinley best qualified

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Iain Carter | 18:14 UK time, Monday, 15 October 2012

Darren Clarke was quick to tweet he has not been offered the next European Ryder Cup captaincy in the wake of a newspaper report that said the job was his.

But that didn't stop money pouring in on Clarke being appointed Jose Maria Olazabal's successor at Gleneagles in 2014. The 2011 Open Champion is quoted as odds-on after a week in which his candidature was given a massive boost.

First came the backing of his great friend and Europe's most experienced current player Lee Westwood. Then followed the report that the deal was already done.

Even if it isn't, the fact that it has been reported this way makes it potentially harder for the Players' Committee to overlook the 44-year-old from Northern Ireland.

Darren Clarke watches Paul McGinley tee off during practice for the 2006 Ryder Cup

Clarke and McGinley played in the 2002, 2004 and 2006 European Ryder Cup teams. Picture: Gerry

Westwood was surprisingly forthright and was prepared to highlight the fact that Clarke's achievements in the game are that bit greater than those of his main rival Paul McGinley.

In the last couple of months Clarke has done everything right to make sure his name is in the frame.

He successfully distanced himself from his past criticisms of the Centenary Course at Gleneagles and has spoken repeatedly of what an honour it would be to lead his continent.

Clarke was an inscrutable assistant to Olazabal at Medinah and like the other vice captains, McGinley included, made no effort to claim any of the glory from Europe's sensational last day comeback.

That was also a smart move and typical of the man. The extraordinary achievements of Chicago belong to the players and quite rightly Ian Poulter has been named European Tour player of the month for his astonishing contribution.

The Players' Committee are in no rush to make an appointment. The next captain was briefly discussed at the end of a meeting at St Andrews the week after the Ryder Cup.

No vote or decision was taken, although it is fair to assume leading candidates have been sounded out in the wake of that gathering.

It will next be formally discussed in the Middle East in January, probably in Abu Dhabi, with an announcement to follow a couple of weeks later at the Dubai Desert Classic.

Westwood is right to point to Clarke's huge contribution to the European cause over five playing appearances and two vice captaincies. The fact he is a major winner also weighs in the Ulsterman's favour.

He is certainly going to lead Europe one day. The problem with appointing Clarke for Gleneagles is that it would significantly increase the possibility of McGinley missing out altogether.

Despite the positive spin for Clarke, it is the Dubliner who is the best qualified of all the potential candidates.

But if he misses out in 2014, McGinley runs the risk of being squeezed out of future matches by the likes of Padraig Harrington and Westwood.

McGinley has his own place in Ryder Cup folklore after holing the winning putt in 2002 and in three appearances has always been on the winning side.

As a player or in a backroom capacity he has never been in a losing professional team and he skippered two victorious Seve Trophy teams in brilliant style.

Yes, the match that pits GB and Ireland against Continental Europe isn't the Ryder Cup but it is still a fine test of future captains.

McGinley was tactically astute in both contests. He was clever with his pairings, batting orders and communication. In the media room he not only didn't put a foot wrong, he excelled.

He always seemed a step ahead of his opposing number - Thomas Bjorn in 2009, and Jean Van de Velde two years later.

McGinley's players spoke of him in glowing terms, praising his organisational and motivational skills.

"Paul McGinley has done an unbelievable job this week motivating the guys, keeping everybody in the loop, asking the guys where they want to play, who they want to play with," said Graeme McDowell immediately after the 09 match.

"He's been a really, really good motivator. You know, they [Continental Europe] have the best team on paper, no doubt about it, but we were up for it."

Significantly the Dubliner is also representative of rank and file European Tour members and this is an important consideration. That aspect is diminishing because the team is now dominated by American based Europeans and that will not change going forward.

The recent decision to allow the Ryder and Presidents' Cups and Seve Trophy to be one of the 13 counting events towards Tour membership will also hit the number of tournaments played in Europe by the continent's biggest stars.

McGinley ticks every box despite never having won a major and has the potential to be a great captain.

It would be a loss to European golf if he doesn't get the chance to lead his continent.


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  • Comment number 1.

    Disappointed I missed out on last weeks blog. Small matter of a messy move from NY to Miami haha.

    Contrary to most I actually really enjoyed the open. It was a good chance to see some of the new players.... J Blixt looks like a pro!

    Going to stick my neck on the line and say McGinley shouldn't get Captain... he's a poor mans Bernhard Langer (nothing against Langer).

  • Comment number 2.

    Mcginley or Clarke

  • Comment number 3.

    Sorry McGinley or Clarke,hasn't Sandy Lyle got an outside chance especially on home soil

  • Comment number 4.

    Good blog Ian and at least you have not got carried away on the Clarke wave that seems to be gaining pace. I have to agree that if Paul Mcginley is overlooked now he may miss the boat much like sandy lyle has. Mcginley has been a stalwart of the European tour and should be given the chance, as you put it in the blog all the players respect him and he has been a successful captain in the seve trophy.
    I don't doubt that Clarke will be a captain at some point but America would be a better fit IMO. Also Clarke was very critical of glen eagles and it would seem a tad hypocritical to captain the European team there.

  • Comment number 5.

    Mania sandy bless him has missed the boat ,great player but a media disaster in waiting bit like mr sandwich gate Faldo. Sandy might get an assistants role but the committee seem to favour a player who is more in touch with the current players as an outsider er er er Monty might get another shot though it seems that as there are so many good candidates its a one gig job now.

  • Comment number 6.

    I think it would make sense to keep Darren as captain in waiting until 2016 back in th USA. McGinley for Gleneagles. He has proved himself as a captain in team events and a successfull vice captain in the Ryder Cup. Darren is well respected over the pondby both spectators and the American players. He has a friendship with the senior players like Tiger and Phil.
    Oh and the victory parties would be off the scale with these two.

  • Comment number 7.

    DBF. I would love to see Monty ack as captain as it would save us all from his atrocious commentary. Perhaps he can be made an honorary life vice captain in recognition of his brilliant RC career.

  • Comment number 8.

    Er er er Wcihis have to agree though the speech could er er er go on and on lol.

  • Comment number 9.

    Oh and of course if he won it again it would of course all be down to his brilliant captaincy.

  • Comment number 10.

    I've heard a rumour it might be John Hawksworth

  • Comment number 11.

    The list of future captains or potential future captains looks pretty healthy,
    Jimenez , Harrington , Bjorn , Lawrie ,Westwood , Sergio, Luke, so no shortage of potential there.

  • Comment number 12.

    Do you believe that Darren having a "Major" has pushed him to the front of the queue ?,and if he had not won the Open,McGinley would be a "shoe in"

  • Comment number 13.


    Are you not forgetting a certain MR POULTER

  • Comment number 14.

    Sorry mania yes poulter would naturally be on any list of future captains and woe betide anyone under his charge not giving 100%.

  • Comment number 15.

    Voice of sanity for once on this subject, Thanks Iain.
    Actually thought DC's surrogates coming out on his behalf was a bit unseemly. McGinley for Gleneagles, then DC for Hazeltine.
    Bjorn for France and Harrington for Whistling Straits.
    (A bit of a shame that Sweden look like missing out - until Jonas Blixt can take the reins in about 2032.)

    And glad to see Lowry has withdrawn from PGA Tour Q-School.

  • Comment number 16.

    do we know who the next American captain will be ? or do the europeans announce theres 1st,it could be a place for mind games between both tour committees.

  • Comment number 17.

    Having just read the blog again I have to say that you should get yourself on the committee Ian and sell the merits of Mcginley as you have put forward a well reasoned and put together argument to champion him.

  • Comment number 18.

    Mania the Us have quite a list to pick from to but I would not be at all surprised to see mr cool Freddie couples doing the job as the Us players love him and like Mcginley has done a great job in the seve trophy Fred has done a great job in the presidents cup.

  • Comment number 19.

    Rory summed it up best, both great captains, but Mcginley better suited to captaining over here, with DC over in America in 2016.

  • Comment number 20.

    Clarke seemed to me correct in his criticism of Gleneagles. His concern that the course would favour US style of play, seems justified. You probably wouldn't expect a Nicklaus designed course, to be anything else. Darren must have hit a nerve, as the recent redevelopment costs were multi-million. Fair play to Gleneagles for listening.

    As mentioned above, Blixt looks a good golfer in the making.....240 holes without a 3 putt is well above average. A fair way's to overhaul Stockton's 940 hole record though.

    Rory says he is cutting back on his tournaments next year.....Wonder if the Worlds No1 will skip the 8.5 million dollar tourney in Sth. Africa next November??....

    "The Tournament of Hope field will comprise a maximum of 72 of the world's top players who will be drawn from the top 50 players on the Official World Golf Ranking, the top eight available players from the European Tour Race to Dubai, the top eight available players from the previous season's final PGA Tour FedExCup points list, as well as those with eligibility similar to that of the Majors and four existing World Golf Championship events, and supplemented by the individual money lists and Orders of Merit of the various Tours that make up the International Federation of PGA Tours.

    Shall see....

  • Comment number 21.

    Read that about Rory cutting his schedule, one thing it helps with is protecting his ranking and as he is now the number one he will want to stay there. Whether he plays a big money tournament if it suits will remain to be seen though I don't think he will have any worries on the financial front.
    He has admitted he is looking forward to the season ending , mind the way he played last week he probably wished he had took the week off still 3 hundred thou for finishing last and a jolly with sweet Caroline not bad eh?

  • Comment number 22.

    @Jimmy My picks for the ISPS Perth International :

    Charl Schwartzel
    Jason Dufner
    Greg Chalmers

    The McGladrey classic

    Zach Johnson
    Jason Day
    Gary Woodland

  • Comment number 23.

    @ 20 a lot of the money spent was on the greens with a special underground air system that aids drainage and helps maintain the temperature to help the grass grow.
    The 18 th has had a bit of work done as have some of the other holes. They have also got a drainage system in the bunkers.I think most of the work was done with keeping the course playable as the weather like Celtic manor could well be a big issue.

  • Comment number 24.

    Got a bit of house keeping to do so i'll get that over and done with 1st.

    Missed last weeks update but basically the only point scorers were those who picked Ryan Moore to win In Vegas, This week even less success with only one person picking Blixt to win.

    It means the totally updated tables, with CFC and WCIHIS getting their points owed from the Ryder Cup looks like this.

    Daveyboy 216
    8 for 6 for 1 179
    Maninasuitcase 164
    Cfcboy23 163
    Jimmy 157
    Golfrants 155
    Gbell 151
    Mattefc 146
    Wibbliouswobblious 110
    Yorkshire Blogster 86
    BMG 84
    Whycantihititstraight 57
    2IK 55
    Golden Bear 49
    The Lion 22
    Addictedtogolf 13
    Carl 6
    Trevthetrainer 5

  • Comment number 25.


    Well i trust the committee has pre-ordered the bamboo for the first cut.... And machetes, for those errant American big hitters.

    Nothing like preparing a track for the home side, as all Sir Richard John Hadlee fans would appreciate.

  • Comment number 26.

    I have to admit i'm not too sure who i think should be the next Ryder Cup captain. I always felt that being Ryder Cup captain was more of a ceremonial role than anything else and that selection for it wasnt based on who would be the best man to take Europe to victory but more a case of who has earned the honour over a distinguished playing career, of course with a special nod to the Ryder Cup.

    On this basis i'm afraid that Paul McGinley doesnt really get a look in over some of his peers, Jimenez has played in more Ryder Cups and has a far better career individually, as has Clarke of course, and even fellow 3 time Ryder Cup player Parnevik had a better career (though he seems to be a virtually forgotten man and i mention him more as a personal favourite that as a man who has any chance of being considered)

    When you consider that by the time 2018 comes around the likes of Harrington and Westwood will most likely be better candidates for captaincy than a playing role due to their age it look like Mcginleys chance is limited to 2014/16 and if he does get it then that would likely exclude the more deserving Jimenez.

    What i will concede is that if you dont pick the captain purely as a position of honour but do take into consideration who might also be best cut out for the role (possibly why Sandy never got it, and looks destined never to get it) then under that criteria McGinley looks a very wise choice indeed

  • Comment number 27.

    Jimmy I think since Faldo did the job just being a big name is perhaps not enough on its own to warrant getting the captaincy. Who ever is chosen basically is going to devot two years of their life to the job, so it's not really just a ceremonial role. Maybe that's another reason for Mcginley to do it as opposed to Clarke. Mcginleys career is not exactly blooming but Clarke has a stack of exceptions thanks to his major win and might well want to capitalise on them. So again Mcginley seems the better candidate.

  • Comment number 28.

    I think the argument for DC in 2016 is a bit shallow. Yes, he is respected the world over but with his substantial team captain experience I would personally go for McGinley as the 'away' captain where his greater experience will count for a lot.

    Having him as a VC would significantly boost Darren's captain-ship and allow them to start 'blooding' another VC for future years. P.McG doesn't know the meaning of the word pressure and that will count for a lot 'over there'.

    BTW - The Irish element could be substantial. With over 100,000 attending the Minnesota Irish Fair each year in August 'our' Paul could start the partying then and keep it going until October by which time everyone lining the fairways will be wearing the green & white. The same could probably be said for DC but PMcG has the twinkle in his eye of a leprechaun! ;-)

  • Comment number 29.

    BTW Jimmy - what about my points for 'last' week when I had Grace, Dubuisson & Oleson plus Moore, De Jonge & Herron? You don't want me to turn into another BMG, do you?

  • Comment number 30.

    David, I dont think that the Faldo captaincy has changed selection policy in the slightest. I dont think that anyone truly expected Faldo to be the ideal leader in a way that Sam Torrance or Olazabal were always touted as being, but none the less there was never any question that he should, and would fulfil the role at some point.

    I dont think the RC committees job is to worry about whether Darren Clarke, or any prospective candidate has unfinished business on the course, thats a matter for any player to consider once they are offered the role, bearing in mind the Clarke hasnt ruled himself out you have to therefore presume at this moment that he would take the job if offered

  • Comment number 31.

    Hey trev sorry I thought you were someone else for a min then the penny dropped.
    It would seem we are kind of singing of the same hymn sheet in regard to Mcginleys qualities and maybe Clarke should have a stint as captain at the seve trophy next year to see how he fairs. I would still though give the job to Mcginley in Scotland mainly due to him being less career pressured than Clarke at this point.

  • Comment number 32.

    Jimmy maybe so but no one would really rule themselves out of the job as with the possible candidates out there it could be seen as a snub.
    From what I remember after Faldo the policy if there is such a thing did change in the respect that it was deemed a good idea that the captain was someone who was possibly still playing at a decent level. Who the team members would know and be able to feel comfortable with hence Monty who was more in line for gleneagles got moved forward in the queue again if there is such a thing.

  • Comment number 33.

    Darren s too overweight to get the captans arm band at present, wont look good n front of camera , that big fat belly, in addition let be serous . wth all the Irsh golfers wnnng everythng n sght at present including seven majors in the last twenty it should be going to Thomas Bjorn. to help spread the love. sANDY lYLE BURNED HIS BRDGES OVER THE MONTY EPISODE. SO LET SOME OTHER COUNTRY HAVE A LOOK IN.. DARREN FOR THE NEXT SORTIE TO US THEN MCGINLEY THE TIME AFTER.

  • Comment number 34.

    Would not let Clarke within an asses roar of the captaincy. As a golfer-he has been the biggest waster of talent I think I have ever seen. His major win was a total fluke and he has missed the cut in the majority of tournaments he has played since. Also-he is too palsy with the American players especially Woods and in my opinion would be a poor motivator and manager of the team. I wouldn't say the guy has a strategic thought in his head. He is the type of golfer the players like-but don't respect. McGinley or Thomas Bjorn for me any day of the week.

  • Comment number 35.

    David, I think if you look back on the Ryder Cup captains ever since Seve they captained relatively soon after their final RC appearance, In the case of Langer and Seve for example only 2 years after they last played, and they did it before Faldo.

    I'm interested to know who you believe was leapfrogged by Monty if you do think he was moved up the line, I personally cant think of any outstanding candidates who have missed out as a result of Colin getting pushed up the pecking order as you say he did?

  • Comment number 36.

    I think only one of these two will end up ever being captain, if you look at the guys coming up behind, it's not inconceivable that Jimenez and Bjorn could also both miss out. Harrington will be 45 by the 2016 Cup and very unlikely to be a playing contender, then Westwood for 2018. With the move towards guys fairly active on the tour, 45-47 seems the age group they're selecting. There's likely to be a few more "Lyles" to come.

  • Comment number 37.

    You still owe me 5 point for the Ryder Cup :-),i assume they will be put on for the next prediction league update

  • Comment number 38.

    It's pretty obvious that Chubby and his whole stable have got a major media PR campaign going to get behind their boy for Gleneagles.
    I have to agree with you Iain though, Paul is the better Captain material. Give him the job.

  • Comment number 39.

    You can tell it's a slow news week in the golf world when people start talking about the Ryder Cup captain.

    For me, there is and was only one ideal candidate for the captaincy at Glenagles in 2014. It's Colin Montgomeie.

    It's pue conjecture, but I think this was the European Tour's original plan, and even Monty himself went on record as saying he'd be an ideal 'fit' for Gleneagles before he got the Celtic Manor gig. A few elements caused a change of plan- firstly, Monty's playing career started to decline ealier than perhaps was expected (after K Club, I'm fairly certain there were one or two who were keen to eek one more apperance as a player out of Colin) so he became 'availible' to captain the side sooner than expected. Secondly the (relative) hammering Europe took at Valhalla, and the press criticism of Faldo that went with it, meant that Monty got pressed into service sooner than probabaly he'd have liked.

    So I think if Monty could be persuaded to take up the reigns again (and surely it would only require a little ego-massaging?) he should be given the captaincy. Sadly for us Europeans the days of Americans being utterly clueless about the Ryder Cup are gone- never again will we see the shellackings we handed out to them at Oakland Hills and the K-Club. I believe that 9 or 10 of the 12 players from the US team that lost at Medinah will make the team for Gleneagles, and they will be desperate to win it back. Therefore, the issue of our captain has to be taken seriously and I don't think it's reasonable to hand it out as some kind of Lifetime Achievement Award anymore. I was firmly in the camp of 'Too much credit for victory/Too much blame for defeat' when it came to Captains, but you only to look at some of the decisions that DLIII made at Medinah that, if done differentley, may
    have swung teh match the way of the USA.

    I don't have a massive amount of confidence in either Clarke or McGinley as cpatian to be honest. Of the two, I'd sooner have Darren. I'm sorry to all Paul's fans but I just don't see what he's achieved as a player to give people the impression he 'deserves' the job. He holed the winning outt in 2002 and has dined out on it ever since. On that basis, Eaomon D'arcy should have been a shoe-in for skipper! Even if you dismiss DC's Open win as a fluke (and there WAS an element of luck to it), you can't overlook the fact that at his peak, DC was a far better player in terms of wins, ranking points etc. So if it really is a straight fight between the two, then DC gets my vote.

  • Comment number 40.

    Dear sir
    A W b Lyle, Twice major champion, players championship,world matchplay championship, former world No. 1, inaugorated recently to the PGA hall of fame, Ryder Cup Player, and Seve's pick for all time best team.
    Never been invited to captain or assisant captain of the Ryder Cup. Strange?.
    Now is the opportunity, A Scotsman to captain in scotland.
    A T A

  • Comment number 41.

    40- I agree, Lyle not geting the job at some point was a massive oversight, when you consider that players of far less ability- James, Torrance and now possibly McGinley- have got or will get a crcak at the captaincy.

    But I think even Lyle's most adrent fan must admit that his time has been and gone. Perhaps if he hadn't burnt his bridges with European Tour suits quite so soon after his success (it beggars belief that he missed the 1989 Cup having won the Masters only a year earlier), perhaps if he hadn't got into a row with Montgomerie etc. The fact that he was overlooked for Celtic Manor because he was believed to be out-of-touch with most of the players he'd be leading (also a percieved problem with Faldo) means, sadly he's very unliekly to get the gig now.

  • Comment number 42.

    The bread and butter golf tournaments are watched worldwide by in the main golfers. Special emphasis is put, quite rightly, on the Majors. Then every two years this massive media led circus called the Ryder Cup hits town. There is a huge following by non golfers watching and talking about it. Perhaps a time is coming when a celebrity type captain to be introduced to promote the event.
    Back him up with a team of vice captains to sort out the golfing matters.
    Alex Salmon clearly made his play for the position, waving the silver putter around Braveheart style. For Gleneagles get someone like Sean Conery or Billy Connolly to front the team. McGinley, Clarke, Jiminez and Montgomerie run the day to day action on the course.

  • Comment number 43.

    Much of the discussion on who should be RC Captain depends on what criteria you are using to select the captain.
    If it is seen (as it has been in the past) a recognition of a players contribution to European golf then certainly Lyle should have been considered but it is almost certainly too late now and Sandy has managed to burn more boats than William the Conqueror.
    I think now it should go to who ever people think will do the best job. And in that I am not sure how relevant a player's achievements are when making that consideration. I think it is important to have played in a few Ryder Cups. Beyond that, surely you should only consider what they bring to the table as a captain not a player. Paul McGinley has been picked as a VC a number of times and there must be a reason for this. We are not party to the contribution the VCs make in the background but the fact he keeps being asked to do the job suggests he does a good job
    One thing though, please god, not Monty. He is fairly insufferable having single handedly won one as captain. In a one hour stint on commentary he managed to mention that Europe won the Ryder Cup when he was captain 149 times. (I may have made up that stat, but that's what it felt like)>

  • Comment number 44.

    at #42, I like where you are going with this one. I would get an actor to dress up as a famous leader from European history to act as captain of the European team. Someone who had a proven track record of uniting Europeans together. There was a chap with a moustache in Germany in the 30s who had a go.

  • Comment number 45.

    Couldn't agree more Ross. It clearly has to be the best man for the job who also clearly wants to do it. With that in mind, past winning captains must be considered first so 1. Monty and 2. JMO would be first in line for me.
    Only when they have ruled themselves out do you look at the likely new candidates of which there appears to be only two.
    FWIW I don't see a huge difference between Clarke and McGinley given that one has a superior playing record yet the other has experience of captaining a team.
    I'd be happy with either but would rather not get into a 'new captain every RC' routine to be honest.

  • Comment number 46.

    Thank you WCIHIS... my vote for Gleneagles goes to Frankie Boyle.

  • Comment number 47.

    I agree Clarke should be captain of the Ryder Cup some day but I dont think McGinley has the respect or done enough in golfing terms to warrent a pick as captain. Or is that just me?

    What about Lee Westwood for captain in 2014? He has done a lot in European golf and although he do not seem like a leader to me, I would prefer leave Clarke until 2016 as he could qualify for the 2014 ryder cup as a player.

  • Comment number 48.

    #47... good idea JM. About time we tried a playing captain.

  • Comment number 49.

    Its all well and good talking up Sandy Lyle for the job, but its basically academic, if he were to be asked to prform the role it would be the most surprising appointment since Mike Bassett got the England job. I get the impression that the Ryder Cup Committee aren't at all sentimental about giving the captain a home Ryder Cup either which further dampens any embers of hope that Lyle might have had.

    If they were at planning to go down that route then they would've saved Monty for Gleneagles and would have picked the Swedish or Spainish bids for the 2018 Ryder Cup where there would be a potential home candidate.

    I'm still of the opinion that the Captains role is greatly exagerrated, looking at the "hapless" Faldo, whilst he may not have done a brilliant job by all accounts, the reason for Ryder Cup defeat should still lay squarely at the players door. On the other hand much was made of Olazabals emotional speeches that had the players in tears, but o 2 or the 3 days these speeches clearly didnt have the desired effect when it came to player performance.

    Because of this I dont really follow the "best man for the job" argument, and would therefore like to see the job spread out between the many excellent and deserving candidates.

    Having said all the Gerard Depardieu for 2018

  • Comment number 50.

    I don't buy into Bjorn or Jiminez EVER being Captain - the former is not that popular on the Tour and the latter struggles with English following a poor education as a boy in a poor part of Spain. It will be Clarke or McGinley for sure - thoughI agree with others that being in Scotland it is right that Sandy Lyle be one of the Vices. Though I'd wager now that if he was offered it, he'd refuse. I also wouldn't rule our Monty accepting a vice capaincy.

  • Comment number 51.

    Guys, i agree with most of the comments that McGinley missing out would be a travesty. He has shown himself to be able, commited and above all a winner. I am not so sure that Clarke is astute enough to be a great captain, whilst undoubtably a great motivator.

    That said the captaincy is a secondary issue when considered along side the course. I have played the course on numerous occasions including last week, coinciding with the dates of the 2014 ryder cup - frankly a better captain by far might be Jacques Cousteau for the amount of water on the course. My caddy literally turned up wearing welly's! and whilst the sub-air system has helped the greens it DID NOT prevent them from flooding and the fairways were pretty much unplayable.

    Considering that the event is a week later than normal to accomodate the FED-EX there is a grave danger that Gleneagles may make Celtic Manor look like a walk in the park!!

  • Comment number 52.

    TheRealJimmy. Just to get my picks out of the way.
    James Kingston
    Charl Schwartzel
    Jason Duffner.

    Michael Thompson
    Charles Howells III
    Jason Day.

    I thank you.

  • Comment number 53.

    @cfc ... no mate...I said not to have Darren Clarke captain until 2016 when I doubt he will be a playing captain then.

    Monty should be captain again...he was fantastic!!

  • Comment number 54.

    50- I can't see Monty's ego accepting a V/C role, especially in Scotland. It'll be all or nothing as far as he's concerned.

    48- I think the days of player-captains are long gone. I think Walter Hagen was the last person to do it, that's how long ago we're talking. The RC involves that much Public Relations work, interviews, probabaly countless meetings that we never get to hear of that I can't see a player with a desire to win majors etc wanting to do it as it would impact on their actual ability to play golf. For a a veteran player like DLIII it's a different story.

    49- Jimmy, surely the Captain's judgemnt must have some effect? I'm with you on the Faldo issue- that he was let down by several of his better players not turning up- and whilst the importance of a Captain is possibly overstated, I don't think it means that it has no impact at all. I'm immedeately reminded of Richie Benaud's quote on cricket captaincy- "Good captaincy is 90% luck and 10% ability. But don't try it without the 10%" At Medinah, I felt that both JMO and DLIII made mistakes that most of us casual observers would recognise as such to varying degrees that would have resulted in a very different match had things been done differentley. This would include the bizzare decision by JMO to rest Poulter on Friday and some odd pairings on Saturday morning that nearly put the US out of reach. DLIII's mistakes have been more widely and openly acknowledged- poor picks of Furyk & Stricker, dropping Mickelson and Braddley, persiting with Woods/Stricker.

    These elemnts are all clearly within the Captain's remit. One interesting observation from looking back at RC's since Captain's Picks were allowed is the number of times the US have got their picks horribly wrong- Exhibit A being Lanny Wadkins picking his old mate Curtis Strange in 1995 (nul poins and lost the crucial singles match to Sir Nick with a bogey on 18). Contrast that with Europe usually getting the best from their picks- Monty in 2004, Westwood & Clarke in 2006, Poulter in 2008 & 2012, Donald in 2010. For that reason alone, the choice of Captain is important than perhaps I've given it credit it for in the past.

  • Comment number 55.

    Hear hear JM. Monty for captain, vice captain, buggy driver, scorer anything but commentator please.

  • Comment number 56.

    Monty might still qualify as a player!

  • Comment number 57.

    @ WCIHIS......given the referendum vote in 2014. The choice of Captain could be a tricky one. Do the ET go for a Pro-union or a Pro-Independence ? To potentially cross both lines may I suggest Andy Murray who can be Scottish and / or British on any given day (depending on how he's playing). VC to be Ivan lendl - a very good golfer - if he can get AM to win a Major he should have no problem with the RC side !!

  • Comment number 58.

    55- WCIHIS, I want to see Monty as a pundit at every Major, RC etc for years to come, if it means we get to see Jack Nicklaus slap him down very once in a while!

  • Comment number 59.

    #53... JM I was referring to your suggestion of Lee Westwood as captain in 2014 and therefore assumed you meant he would be a playing captain. Surely?

  • Comment number 60.

    Andy Murray is English I was told as is Manu Samoa Tualangi.
    So Im told.

  • Comment number 61.

    Ross, Its fair comment, However i'm not entirely sure what you are arguing against, I said that the role of captain is greatly exagerrated, not that it was totally insignificant.

    I would say that the criticisms you make of DLIII are very harsh and in the main only apply with hindsight, which is always 20/20. The picks of Stricker and Furyk were widely forecast and approved of before the event when you consider that the only alternatives were either hugely out of form (Mahan, Fowler) or just a bit too leftfield and risky to be seriously considered (Van Pelt, Moore) I think they were fair enough picks.

    With Woods its a case for US RC captains of Damned if you do and damned if you dont. He consistently under-performs in the event but any captain who dared to drop him would be labelled useless for doing so if results dont go to plan, easier to pick him, if it fails you can fall back on the "how can you drop Woods" line.

  • Comment number 62.

    61- In all fairness, the criticsm of Furyk's selection is not just a case of hindsight being 20/20- I voiced on here at the time that it was a strange decision, and many commenters on various golf forums (not necessarly a representitive sample, I admit) didn't agree either. Whilst neither Mahan nor Fowler were exactly in 'pick-me' form, Nick Watney (who'd won the week prior to the picks being named against a stellar field) was.

    I think the curious thing about the persitsting with the Woods/Furyk partnership was that, having rested them for Saturday morning (a session US won 3-1), DLIII returned them to active duty in the afternoon. So having proved they could win matches without them, he returned to them despite all the evidence before him (they'd lost their two matches on Friday). Indeed the point they subsequentley lost on Saturday afternoon was arguably the most crucial point of the week- being 10-4 down, Europe proceeded to fight back to 10-6, and the scores would be 11-10 in Europe's favour before the US got on the board again.

    I suppose the position I'm aguing for is that there is a skill element required in the captaincy. You said in post 49 you don't buy the "Best Man for the Job" argument, my position is that there is some element to the Captaincy that requires a certain level of competence on his part, and that the role should be awarded on that basis, and not just passed around like a ceremonial torch from one ET veteran to the next.

  • Comment number 63.

    @ RJ / Ross......You could even argue that the last time the US triumphed (2008) a certain TW wasn't in the team. They perhaps play better without him ?
    Also scared to put in a bad performance with the (ex) World No. 1

    I think Faldo was pilloried for the wrong reasons. It's just when you lose your mistakes / faults are magnified 3-fold at least. If Euro had won that one, he may have been asked to do it again - to fall in line with the Monty for Gleneagles plan.

    Ref 2014 - the Captain gets to set up the course so if DC doesn't like it then surely he can change it, no ?

    I don't think that there are any stand out candidates as such for the next captaincy. As DBF has pointed out DC will probably want to continue playing for the next 2 years on his "open ticket". Therefore that proably leaves PMcG who may be in the Bernard Gallacher mode. Not a stellar career but a well liked man who people will play for.

  • Comment number 64.

    Faldo showed future captains exactly how NOT to captain a team.
    It was a sad end to a great career but he will forever been known as the worst RC captain in history but who also won some majors.

  • Comment number 65.

    @ JM....I personally think that Mark James was a worse Captain than Faldo. His "big gun" gamble failed when thay all ran out of steam. Faldo's "big guns" never played that well.

  • Comment number 66.

    Ross - I do recall you arguing against Furyk but that alternative you raise is no better. Watney had a very poor season prior to his win in the Playoffs which came as a bolt from the blue, he the immediatly returned to his previous fairly poor form. I dont believe he was ever a serious contender for a pick and he lies in the group of leftfield picks along with Moore, Van Pelt, et al.

    For me the most curious thing about persisting with Woods/Stricker isnt the selection of Woods, his play in the Friday 4 ball merited another shot at it on the saturday. The question has to be why is it so hard to find a partner for him that a badly struggling player is sent out alongside him. It is impossible to know for sure unless you have been inside the camp but its hard to escape the feeling the Tiger himself may be culpable.

    I think that the "certain level of competance" that you insist the "best man for the job" should have is unknowable until he actually takes up the position anyway. The only person that we can really be sure has that competence is Mcginley due to his stints in the Seve trophy, but he's one nam that you ruled out. (Apologies for the overuse of quotiation marks by the way)

  • Comment number 67.

    agreed...mark james was clueless. Faldo just failed to motivate his players.
    It was as if they didnt care if they won for him or not.

  • Comment number 68.

    Well this is obviously a quiet week! I tend to think that it generally doesn't really matter who the captain is to a certain extent as long as they don't do anything stupid (ahem, MJ).

    Why not program a cyber-captain to run the team? - You know, make sure there's a bit of current form in your wild card picks, give everybody a run-out in the first two days, don't flog a dead horse with the same pairing, top-load the singles if you're behind, etc.

    I don't suppose you can program the emotional "Seve-factor" though.

  • Comment number 69.

    Ryder Cup captain has no relevance to the outcome of the competition, he's just there to deal with all the corporate commitments

  • Comment number 70.

    #65 WibWob - have to agree there. My personal view is that James made a total hash of it and picked his mates instead of the better players.

    The thing about picking the Captain is that you need a crystal ball to do so. On paper DL3 was a very strong contender and he did (almost) everything right throughout. No-one can say for sure that dropping Woods/Stricker on Saturday would have ensured another point and a 11-5 lead for the USA overnight.

    The fact that Team Europe came out and got the breaks on Sunday is not his fault. Had Mickleson's pitch on the 17th or Furyk's putt on the 15th dropped it was game over and DL3 would be getting the Congressional Medal of Honour. Instead Ollie is hailed as a genius, an inspiring Captain who will forever be remembered as leading the greatest comeback in RC history.

    As for the seemingly 2 prime contenders it is a close call. PMac has the pedigree of the Seve Trophy while Darren made a massive success of the Irish Open this year. He attended just about every meeting going including those with the transport companies to ensure that every last detail was right. He does have organisational abilities and speaks well in public.

    Probably the best result is that the next 2 captains are named at the same time therefore ensuring the media don't cause their usual schism by setting one against the other.

    It certainly wouldn't do any harm to let the world know that Snady Lyle isn't being considered - having nothing whatsoever to bring to the table. It will also give Sky 2 clear years in which to train Colin er um er er Colin er er Colin um um Montgomerie that repetition and um-erring is unprofessional and that he is not the centre of the universe. Alternatively they could just drop him completely.

    It was interesting to see Fred Couples being suggested as the next USA captain. It would certainly be a fun event and I would love to see him given the opportunity. Other than that who are the main contenders over there? Furyk? Stricker?

  • Comment number 71.

    I am just amazed that I have read 4 or 5 articles/ blogs on this subject, with all of the scribes ignoring the 2016 captaincy... Surely you need to look ahead to work out who may be suitable for the 'away leg' to help with the Gleneagles selection?
    Why is it always left to the posters to make the sage comments? #lazyjournalism

  • Comment number 72.

    66- No problems Jimmy re: the quotataions. It's nice to be quoted.

    I would argue that are two 'Best men for the Job' that we have concrete evidence of thier Captainct record that merit consideration above McGinley. One is Monty, the other, I'd argue, is Langer (he still actively plays unlike Faldo, and he's still very competetive on the Champions Tour). Unfortunately both are excluded due to the semi-official once-and-once only policy. I stress again that I don't have vast confidence that either Clarke or McGinley will be up to the job of stopping what will surely be a determined US effort. Of the two, I'd suggest that DC's close relationship with Rory, Gmac, Westy and possibly Sergio (who will still be the core of ay Euro team in 2 years hence) should get him the job.

  • Comment number 73.

    Everyone loves Couples but does his 2 stints as Presidents Cup captain rule him out for the Ryder Cup? I hope not but suspect he might.

    Furyk and Stricker are certainly candidates, just a few other names to toss into the pot include Cink, Calcavecchia, Leonard, or Toms. There are probably more as well so they certainly dont have a shortage of candidates

  • Comment number 74.

    Just back from a buffeting from the gale still at least the course is open and playable, sorry Wcihis could not resist.
    IMO the captain should not really need to inspire the team but the players should respect him. Paul Mcginley certainly has that, as he has been there and done it red the Ryder cup as has dc. Although some seem to think its not a crucial role I have to disagree, pairings and placing of the single order can definitely make a difference. Olly certainly got the singles order right though why he dropped poulter and played an out of sorts Kaymer on the first afternoon was questionable. Dl3 on the other hand could have made it near impossible for Europe but for his insistence in sending woods out with Stricker who was poor. A stronger captain should have benched them or told tiger right get out there with someone else and perform like the Tiger of solo golf. Instead he played safe and then sticks Tiger out last in the singles poor decisions that if he had them again would he do the same. Faldo rested Westwood citing that he had blisters a story made up apparently to give a plausible excuse a poor decision by a poor captain.
    I can see there being a possibility of a return of Monty but another idea why does the captain have to be an individual as the vice captains probably do just as much work and have an equal imput. A joint captaincy might not sit well with some but at least it would maybe give more of the players a bite of the cherry

  • Comment number 75.

    Jimmy in answer to the question you posed the main person that Monty possibly jumped ahead of would have been sandy lyle also maybe with it being in Wales I could have seen a return to woosnam. Monty had always coveted doing the job at gleneagles but the committee wanted him for Wales as it was deemed after Faldo that the captain should be more in touch with the players. Faldo tried bless him but maybe that was part of the trouble he tried too hard. He did not have enough support around him and more so than Monty he wanted it to be his show. Monty to be fair set a trend of having plenty of back up even getting Olly involved at the eleventh hour hey and at least he picked waterproofs for the team that worked ha ha.

  • Comment number 76.

    @72 - I would say that neither Clarke nor Mcginley would be up to the job of stopping a determined US effort, but i say that because its the players job to perform that function.

    I also dont really think that having Montgomerie or Langer in that role would in any way increase the chances of success over Clarke or Mcginley.

  • Comment number 77.

    I think one of the issues with the Faldo captaincy was that he'd just established himself as a lead commentator on American TV having bizarrely fashioned a reputation, unlike his playing days, as a character and a joker. Much of what he did was living up to and entrenching that, hence the cringeable speeches, and I'm sure that detracted from his focus on the captaincy.

    As far as now is concerned I think it is pretty well established that given the large number of prospectives candidates the captaincy is a once only role which rules out Monty and Jose. That I think is fair otherwise you have the potential for many more Lyle's and McGinley's missing the boat. However, Europe still wants to win and I don't think your playing career per se should be the overriding factor. After all it has proved much of a predicator for managerial ability in other sports. While I doubt he will get it, the blog makes a good case for the merits of McGinley and there is little doubt Clarke would get it at some point.

    Re: 47 do you really think that Clarke has more chance of qualifying as a player than Westwood in 2014? Even if Westwood is on the wane (highly debatable) it wouldn't be a great shock if Clarke isn't playing regularly on tour by then.

  • Comment number 78.

    The most important person on each team is the Captain.
    If the USA had a smarter, strategic minded captain they would have walked it.
    To take another team head on...when you know they gonna stack it top heavy and you do the same...when there is ZERO need to do idiotic.

    All he had to do what the opposite of what he did and 100% USA would have gotten 4.5 points out of the last 8 games.

  • Comment number 79.

    David - You are just being wise after the event, Its easy and lazy to just say, this pair lose so it was poor captaincy. No, you blame the players 1st, or you credit the opponents who defeated them.

  • Comment number 80.

    Sorry david, that came accross as a bit sharp and kurt, I was trying not to go all long winded and waffley like some previous efforts of mine. Needless to say i have now realised through this that there are two roles that the captains play which are absolutly vital, the importance of which cannot be overstated.

    One plays the role of Conquering Hero, The other, the vilified scapegoat

  • Comment number 81.

    What about Des Smith for captaincy?

  • Comment number 82.

    James water of a ducks as they say, yes a winning captain can look great ( questionable in montys case) a losing one Faldo a bit of a plonker.

  • Comment number 83.

    Frankie Boyle.
    Or John Terry.

  • Comment number 84.

    I have no real preference for either Darren Clarke or Paul McGinley as captain. I will just be happy that either of them would mean there would be a first ever Irish captain!!

  • Comment number 85.

    Very simple answer to all this and will certainly end the debates on 'what the captain does' for ever. I propose that JamesMatthew is appointed captain with DBF, Ross,Bugsy and Derek Fallon as the VC's. You seem to have all the answers so go win it again, boys.

    Referee for the match would have to be TRJ who has no fear in issuing 'nil points', disqualifying duplicate entries, etc., etc., and would take no nonsense from all those trying to get an advantage.

    For the USA team the captain must be GBell, considering his current domicile, ably supported by the other 3 overseas leg-ends BMG, 2ironkid and GoldenBear (hahaha).

  • Comment number 86.

    85- I doubt I'd be VC material- I can't fold a sweater to save my life for one thing!

  • Comment number 87.

    TjT. That's just reminded me

    GB Hahahahahahaha

  • Comment number 88.

    @TtT .... why thank you...if you can sort it out so I'm captain then I can guarantee 100% that we will win.

    Firstly I would request 4 wild cards like the USA. Then the top 8 quality and my 4 wild cards...whom I would pick 12 months in advance of the event just so the pressure is off them and the dont have to play to much as I dont want them burned out.

    Wild Cards:
    1: miguel angel jimenez
    2: darren clarke
    3: harrington
    4: monty

    boom...we got a team!

  • Comment number 89.

    Very droll TtT

    Having me as ref and BMG in the American camp is one way to ensure we retain the Ryder Cup, which would have the unfortunate side effect of making JM a winning captain.

    On reflection i dont like that idea at all. You might want to invite Derek Fallon into the fold (see earlier comment) seems to know exactly what it takes to not be a good captain.

  • Comment number 90.

    Actually why did I not think of it earlier Tony Blair could be the euro captain he desperately wanted to run Europe so why not let him have a go and on the plus side he knows his way around gleneagles thanks to hosting the g8 there.

  • Comment number 91.

    Trev me and vice are not a good combination it could all end in tears.

  • Comment number 92.

    TtT: I've got my name down for the presidents cup

  • Comment number 93.

    @ TRJ.......I don't think that FC's stints as Captain for El Presidentes cup would preclude him from the RC. Different competition. In fact the opposite. He's been victorious in that competition so I assume he will be a shoo-in for 2014.

  • Comment number 94.

    USA Captain - Fred Couples
    Europe Captain - Lee Westwood

  • Comment number 95.

    Where's WCIHIS?

  • Comment number 96.

    The new page beckons

  • Comment number 97.

    I have a comment to make

  • Comment number 98.

    But first

  • Comment number 99.

    I have to get us

  • Comment number 100.

    Onto the


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