The Tour’s five-man Ryder Cup captaincy panel is set to meet at Wentworth to select the man they hope can lead Europe to a fourth successive victory over the United States when rivalry is renewed at Hazeltine in Minnesota in 19 months.
Darren Clarke remains the overwhelming favourite to get the nod from the panel comprising Tour chief executive George O’Grady, former captains McGinley, Jose Maria Olazabal and Colin Montgomerie as well as former Ryder Cup player David Howell. However, Spain’s Miguel Angel Jimenez is also in the mix.
Clarke, the 2011 British Open champion, has made no secret of his desire to captain Europe, having played on four winning teams and served as a vice-captain to both Montgomerie in 2010 and Olazabal two years later, never experiencing defeat.
The 46-year-old made a late bid for the 2014 captaincy only for McGinley to win the backing of the Tour with the support of Rory McIlroy, amongst others.
That decision was vindicated at Gleneagles last September when the Dubliner was adjudged to put in a captaincy masterclass as he outwitted US captain Tom Watson in Scotland as the Europeans sealed a 16½-11½ victory.
McIlroy has now thrown his weight behind Clarke’s candidacy although 51-year-old Jiménez might be seriously considered to avoid having two Irish captains in succession.