Ryder Cup 2014: Who Should Europe's Captain Be?

Mike DudurichContributor IJanuary 13, 2013

Ryder Cup 2014: Who Should Europe's Captain Be?

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    It’s not like there are a busload of capable candidates for the position of captain of Europe’s Ryder Cup team. As a matter of fact, all of the qualified candidates would make an attractive foursome on any golf course.

    There will be a meeting of the European tour’s tournament committee in Abu Dhabi Tuesday to discuss who will succeed Jose Maria Olazabal as captain.

    Here’s a breakdown of the candidates from least likely to most likely.

Jose Maria Olazabal

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    Jose Maria Olazabal, who engineered Europe’s unbelievable comeback at Medinah in 2012, has said he’d be willing to be a part of the 2014 event at Gleneagles. Not in a captaincy sort of way but as an assistant.

    He was asked about returning soon after the 2012 Ryder Cup ended and said, “Would I like to do it again? Yes, in a way, but I can assure you that's going to be a no, period," he said.

    "First of all, it's a lot of work. You have to be in so many places. [The next captain] should be prepared for that. It takes a lot [out] of you during the stretch of time from when you're named captain to the playing of the Ryder Cup.”

    He put an exclamation point to that Sunday in Durban, South Africa when he said, “I would never do it again. I’ve done it, and it couldn’t have been any better.”

Darren Clarke

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    Darren Clarke, the 2011 Open champion, has been the leading candidate to succeed Olazabal until his game turned around at the end of 2012.

    When that started, he realized that he had three more years of exemptions into major tournaments and also realized that the Ryder Cup captaincy would take up most of two years.

    "As much as I would dearly love to be captain, this may not be my time," said the 44-year-old Clarke. "I'm still wrestling with it. It's a tough one for me, but to be honest I want to play golf."

    Hard to blame a guy for taking himself out of the running, especially if he feels like his game is good enough to compete.

    That window of opportunity won’t be open forever.

Colin Montgomerie

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    Colin Montgomerie was the European captain in 2010 and while he says he hasn’t made any overtures for 2014, his name has popped up.

    One of the reasons for that is his Ryder Cup experience—he played in eight Ryder Cups and never lost a singles match, posting a 20-9-7 record. The matches will also be played in his homeland, Scotland. He lives not far from Gleneagles.

    "I've always said that we need the best man for the job, whoever that is," Montgomerie said. "And if we're going for the best man for the job, then that doesn't say you shouldn't do it again. I thought it was between Darren and Paul until Darren said something, then my name was mentioned."

    "I've never canvassed, as I didn't last time. I've not spoken to anybody about this. But I've always felt that if I was asked I would do it, and that's still the case."

Paul McGinley

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    Paul McGinley never had the glitter or splash of guys like Montgomerie, Clarke or Olazabal. 

    But he won nine times professionally, four on the European Tour and is one of the most respected players in Europe. He played on three Ryder Cup teams—2002, 2004 and 2006—and was a vice-captain in 2010 and 2012.

    McGinley is certainly open to the possibility of captaining the 2014 European Ryder Cup team and got a big boost over the weekend when the No. 1 player in the world chimed in.

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