Europe can count themselves one up before they start next year’s Ryder Cup – if they select Colin Montgomerie as their captain at Celtic Manor.
That is the advice from Lee Westwood for the tournament committee, who are expected to make their decision next week – with Scot Montgomerie and Spaniard Jose Maria Olazabal by far the two likeliest contenders.
Westwood, who has represented Europe in the last six Cups, believes both men have the credentials to be outstanding captains – but prefers Montgomerie for next year in Wales, and then Olazabal for the return fixture in the United States.
“Colin is known for the way he has played in Ryder Cup. He would stand on the first tee – and seeing he is there with his fantastic Cup record ... it would feel like being one up to start with,” Westwood predicted on BBC Radio 5 Live’s Sportsweek.
“To me, it makes sense to have Colin the first time and then Jose Maria in America. They would both be 47 years old when they did it – and that would make most sense to me.
“I think they’ll make good captains, because they have the experience and knowledge of Ryder Cup.”
Welshman Ian Woosnam and Scot Sandy Lyle have also both been touted as outside bets to be named as captain. But Westwood discounts Woosnam because he has already filled the role, and modern convention dictates it is a once-in-a-lifetime experience – and he fears Lyle’s time has passed.
“They were talking about (this year’s beaten captain) Nick Faldo having lost a bit of touch with the players, because he has not played for a long time,” Westwood recalls.
“Sandy would fall into that category maybe, not having a bond with some of the players in the team.”
As for his own future captaincy prospects, 35-year-old Westwood relishes the idea – and makes it clear he will give it his all if the time comes.
“I would love to have the job, an honour to captain – the best moment of your Ryder Cup career,” he said.
“But you want to do a good job and win it. That is the most important thing when you are Ryder Cup captain.”