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Bjorn says US captaincy for Watson won’t influence Euro call

Tournament Players Committee chairman, Thomas Bjorn, will steer next Tuesday’s European Ryder Cup captaincy vote in Abu Dhabi away from the recent comments of Darren Clarke and not react to the 2014 US team appointment of Tom Watson.

Clarke, a member of the committee and a Gleneagles captain’s candidate believes the committee when it meets next Tuesday in Abu Dhabi needs a captain of "huge presence" to match the legendary American.

"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," said Bjorn.

"Though there is no doubt from the time we announce Europe’s captain for 2014, it is then going to be tricky and difficult for our captain ahead of Gleneagles because it’s going to be like whatever Watson says goes.

"It’s true also if Tom Watson is in the room or he’s in a press conference he will have the edge and that is different compared to someone who has competed in your own generation.

"So 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."

Bjorn confirmed Paul McGinley and Darren Clarke as the two proposals for the 2014 captaincy with Dubliner Peter Lawrie sitting on his first committee and in what will be a 13-man committee meeting given the absence of the injured Miguel Angel Jimenez and Sweden’s Robert Karlsson.

"There are no official candidates and there never has been as we sit down and mention who has been proposed and on this occasion we know who the two candidates are," said Bjorn.

"I presume Paul and Darren will be proposed and I’m sure there will be other names discussed."

As chairman Bjorn will vote only if there is deadlock it may be that a decision is deferred, but if the captain is picked on Tuesday, Bjorn says the announcement will be immediate.

Bjorn is also keen to avoid any bitterness.

"Paul and Darren have been two of my best friends on Tour all the years I’ve been out here.

"It’s not easy and I’ve told both of them they’ve just got to go with what happens. It’s for other people to decide. If you miss out it’s because it’s not the right time — if you get appointed, it’s because it is the right time."

Also on the committee is Colin Montgomerie the victorious 2010 captain who has not done McGinley or Clarke any favours in declaring he remains a contender.

Montgomerie, in Durban yesterday in the 33-strong field for the Volvo Champions tournament starting today, said yesterday: "I am excited and honoured and very flattered really that my name’s been put in the frame.

"I’ve always said that we need the best man for the job, whoever that is.

"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’d do it and that’s still the case."

Pádraig Harrington, who joins Clarke, Michael Hoey and Shane Lowry contesting the Durban event, has again thrown his support behind McGinley. "McGinley is the ideal man for Gleneagles and he should be chosen because McGinley is not going to go up against Tom Watson and try to match Tom Watson as McGinley will be concerned with just doing his own thing," said Harrington.

"Paul McGinley is just so good getting in behind the scenes and while Darren has stature both physically and golfing wise but hold him back for the US as that’s the place for Darren."