ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) – Paul McGinley appears to be the front-runner to become Europe's Ryder Cup captain for 2014 after Darren Clarke raised doubts about taking on the responsibility.
McGinley also has received the endorsement of world No. 1 Rory McIlroy
“RC captaincy should be a 1 time thing… Everybody deserving gets their chance and moves on… Would love to play under Paul McGinley in `14,'' McIlroy tweeted late Sunday.
McGinley clearly has the credentials. The 46-year-old Irishman has been on three winning Ryder Cup sides and was vice captain for Europe in 2010 and for its improbable comeback win last year.
Clarke was the favorite until last week when he raised concerns about the impact the captaincy would have on his career, which he feels is on the rebound after a difficult 2012.
Clarke and McGinley have long been the two main candidates to replace Spain's Jose Maria Olazabal, with the European Tour's tournament committee expected to vote in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday. Others mentioned in recent months have included the 1999 British Open winner Paul Lawrie as well as the 2010 Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie.
Most, though, have seen it as a two-man race that appears to be becoming McGinley's to lose.
Clarke, the 2011 British Open Champion, said this week at the Volvo Champions in South Africa that he was wary of taking on the commitment necessary to be the next captain. “I am exempt for another three years (for major events) and, if I was given the opportunity to do the captaincy, I'd effectively be throwing two of those years away.''
The Americans last month picked Tom Watson to lead its team at the 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles. Watson will be 65 when the event starts, making him by far the oldest man to fill the role and the first repeat captain for the U.S. since 1987. But he's also the last American to lead the team to victory on the road in 1993, and he knows how to win in the blustery Scottish weather.
The Europeans have insisted the choice of Watson won't influence whom they pick.
“As a committee voting for a new European captain we don't have to react to Tom Watson's appointment as Europe's record in past years is pretty impressive,'' Thomas Bjorn, the longtime member of the European Tournament Players Committee, said last week in South Africa.
Still, Bjorn acknowledged that Watson has the potential to overshadow anyone Europe chooses.
“If Tom Watson is in the room or he's in a press conference, he will clearly have the edge and that is different compared to someone who has competed in your own generation,'' Bjorn said. “But then Tom Watson deserves that right and that respect for everyone to listen to what he says. But as far as needing to be seen appointing someone to match Tom Watson, that will not happen.''