The prince could prove the kingmaker. Paul McGinley's candidacy to be Europe's 2014 Ryder Cup captain seemingly gained irresistible momentum as Rory McIlroy, the world No 1, dismissed Colin Montgomerie's challenge for Gleneagles.
Certainly, after the anointed one's comments, a vote for anybody but McGinley in Abu Dhabi tomorrow would be highly contentious. And with so many of McIlroy's fellow Ryder Cup team-mates also backing the Dubliner, the European Tour could face embarrassing, if not damaging, dissension.
"RC captaincy should be a one-time thing," McIlroy tweeted, unprompted. "Everyone deserving gets their chance and moves on. I would love to play under Paul McGinley in 2014."
Would they dare give it to Montgomerie after that? Almost certainly not when they hear that Jose Maria Olazabal, the captain who oversaw the 'Miracle of Medinah' in September, has also sighted his aim at Monty's chances. Like everybody in the game, the Spaniard has heard the rumours of a Monty reappointment. And, like many, Olazabal does not agree.
Montgomerie became McGinley's main challenger after Darren Clarke effectively withdrew from the contest on Friday. Montgomerie, who lives minutes from the Perthshire course, is understood to have some influential supporters on the 15-man committee which will vote on the appointment.
But Olazabal feels it would be a mistake to make Montgomerie Europe's first repeat captain since 1995, a 17-year period in which Europe have won six matches with eight different captains.
"I'm a strong believer that we have a generation of players who deserve the captaincy," Olazabal said. "The fear is someone might miss out because there are just too many strong candidates who have yet to have their chance. I think it's only right to give those guys that chance." Olazabal has previously spoken of his admiration for McGinley, who he called "a massive and vital help" in Chicago and the fact, that in the absence of Clarke, he is championing the 46-year-old is obvious.
McGinley served his second stint as assistant captain at Medinah and also impressed when twice captaining Great Britain & Ireland to victory in the Seve Trophy.
Not only does he boast Olazabal's support but, plainly, the majority of Europe's current top performers: McIlroy, Luke Donald, Ian Poulter and Graeme McDowell. Before Clarke dropped out – finally deciding he still has what it takes to qualify for 2014 as a player – they all expressed their belief that McGinley was the man for Scotland.
McIlroy has long cited Clarke as a mentor, but even he sided with McGinley from the outset. "Paul for 2014, Darren for 2016," said McIlroy, when asked by a reporter. If only it were so simple.
Europe's Ryder Cup captaincy process moves in strange and arcane ways and, due to Tom Watson being reinstated to lead America's quest to win their first win on away soil in more than 20 years, the campaign for Montgomerie has gathered impetus.
Montgomerie, who turns 50 in June, is playing a rather uncharacteristic cagey game, clearly aware that former comments such as "this is a one-time hit" could come back to ruin a rerun he so obviously craves. Certainly he shouldn't expect much, if any, support from his predecessors.
"If I were him I wouldn't do it again," Olazabal said. "First of all, it's a lot of energy and time, a huge demand and the pressure is big." Another previous captain, Ian Woosnam, is also in agreement with Olazabal.
But Montgomerie and Olazabal are different animals and McGinley does indeed face a European heavyweight foaming at the mouth for a rematch.
On the committee, only Francesco Molinari and Clarke have experience of McGinley in a managerial role, although Thomas Bjorn, the committee chairman, has canvassed the current team for their opinion. On that basis, McGinley would be a shoo-in. But there are many other facets to the position; chiefly dealing with the media and satisfying the corporate jungle. A simple sporting decision it is not. (© Daily Telegraph, London)