Olazabal in line to lead Europe next
Irish players are great at winning Ryder Cups on the course but it'll be four more years at least before an Irishman captains Europe, WRITES KARL MacGINTY.
Spanish legend Jose Maria Olazabal has emerged as the universal choice of his peers on Tour to lead the European team into their defence of the Ryder Cup at Medinah in 2012.
Confirming he definitely would be stepping down as skipper after Monday's dramatic victory over the US, Colin Montgomerie last night nominated Olazabal, one of his five assistants at Celtic Manor, as his successor.
"We both played eight Ryder Cups, a lot of them together -- he has as much experience as I have and I'm sure he'll do as good, if not a better, job than I did," said Monty.
Health issues, which have limited Olazabal (44) to just one tournament this year, are the only obstacle. "We've talked about it and I'd love to do it," said the Spaniard. "But you must fulfil certain things. You must be close to the players and play with them during the qualifying process."
Following the debacle at Valhalla, all future European skippers must be active on Tour.
Paul McGinley and Darren Clarke, members of the winning back-room team in Wales, insist they're not in the running for 2012. "This is not my time," said McGinley (43), who shares Clarke's conviction that Olazabal should be favourite for the job in Chicago.
Determined to remain competitive on Tour, McGinley and Clarke may vie with each other to become Ireland's first captain at Gleneagles in 2014.