No rush over Ryder Cup captaincy

The decision on who takes over from Nick Faldo as Europe’s Ryder Cup captain seems unlikely to be made before May.

The decision on who takes over from Nick Faldo as Europe’s Ryder Cup captain seems unlikely to be made before May.

But Denmark’s Thomas Bjorn, chairman of the tournament committee that will discuss the position in Abu Dhabi tomorrow, insisted today that any delay would not be to allow Jose Maria Olazabal more time to make up his mind whether he wants to be in charge in Wales next year.

“I’m not naming any names, but we are not holding out for anybody,” said Bjorn. “We need to think long and hard about it.

“The list of candidates is long and the longer we take the longer it will probably get, but we’re not putting ourselves in a position where we have to announce it tomorrow.

“We want to go through all the factors that come into being Ryder Cup captain. There have been a lot of feelings expressed about this captaincy and the last one and we want that to settle.

“We are going to take our time. We don’t need to decide tomorrow – the time when we do is before the points start in September.

“I would not be surprised if we don’t announce it tomorrow. It’s not set in stone.

“There are some very good candidates for many years to come.”

Olazabal, captain of the European team beaten by Asia in the Royal Trophy in Bangkok at the weekend, said there: “I would love to be considered, I’m not going to deny that.

“I would love to be playing and I think maybe it is too soon, but time will tell.”

Sandy Lyle, 2004 captain Ian Woosnam and Miguel Angel Jimenez have also had their names mentioned and Lyle has the support of Colin Montgomerie, a member of the tournament committee who is fully expected to be captain himself at Gleneagles in 2014.

Woosnam, of course, was the subject of an astonishing attack by Bjorn after the Welshman named Darren Clarke and Lee Westwood as his two wild cards for the K Club clash.

“Not my finest hour and that will hang over me for ever,” stated Bjorn. “But things have to move on. You get emotional at times and I regret what happened, but I have dealt with it the best way I can and I am sure it’s not at the forefront of Woosie’s mind.”

Bjorn was fined for his comments, but his standing rose again when he was chosen to succeed Jamie Spence as chairman of the players’ body.

He went on to have his worst-ever season on the European Tour, dropping outside the top 100 on the Order of Merit and to 200th in the world, but puts that down to short game problems and a loss of confidence rather than the burdens of his new position.

“I’d like to think I can still challenge for the next Ryder Cup,” added the 37-year-old, a member of the 1997 and 2002 winning teams.

“But it’s certainly getting more difficult – the talent we have is huge.”

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