Ryder Cup contenders
THE four vice-captains at Medinah who now lead the race to succeed Jose Maria Olazabal at the 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles:
1 Paul McGinley:
Showed his talent as a captain by twice leading Britain and Ireland to victory over Europe at the Seve Trophy. The Dubliner (45) clearly has a gift when it comes to man-management and tactics and is technically best equipped for the job ... yet needs to get back into the upper- echelons as a player to boost his chances.
2 Darren Clarke
As a British Open winner, the Ulsterman has the high profile one associates with recent European Ryder Cup captains. His prospects for 2014 were helped when he made plain his pleasure at the recent Jack Nicklaus re-design at Gleneagles, a course he had pilloried in the past. Yet Rory McIlroy's suggestion that Clarke's immense popularity in the US made him the perfect candidate for Hazeltine in 2016 would enjoy much support on Tour.
3 Thomas Bjorn
A 13-time winner on the European Tour and twice-capped at the Ryder Cup, the 41-year-old captained the European Seve Trophy side beaten by McGinley's team in Paris last year. The Dane, a popular and long-standing chairman of the European Tour's Tournament Players Committee, has all the attributes for a good Ryder Cup captain but perhaps is a little too hot-headed for a position which requires unique diplomatic skills.
4 Miguel Angel Jimenez
The Spaniard is a great character and has been the life and soul of any team upon which he has played, including four Ryder Cups and seven Seve Trophies. He served the first of his three spells as vice-captain under Ballesteros at Valderrama in 1997, at Celtic Manor with Monty and, of course, in Medinah. Sadly, his English is not as good as Olazabal's, while it is unlikely to have two Spanish captains on the trot.