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McGinley awaits his Ryder fate

Five Ryder Cups, five wins - three as a player, two as a vice-captain.

Four Seve Trophy matches, four wins - two as a player, two as captain.

A World Cup winner and twice a Royal Trophy winner.

Intelligent, diligent, highly motivated and, in case anybody had forgotten, the man whose 10-foot putt at The Belfry on his debut 11 years ago took Europe to victory.

It all makes Paul McGinley an outstanding candidate to take over as Europe's Ryder Cup captain for the 2014 clash with the Americans at Gleneagles in Scotland.

If sufficient members of the European Tour's tournament committee take that view when they meet in Abu Dhabi to debate the Ryder Cup captaincy next Tuesday, there seems little point in pressing Darren Clarke on whether he wants to be considered, or indeed asking Colin Montgomerie if he would take the job again.

McGinley has chosen not to go on a campaign trail since September's match in Chicago, saying only: "It's a big honour to be Ryder Cup captain, but it's not something I want to commit myself to or say too much about.

"It's best if I just step away now and let things evolve. I'll just stand back and wait."

Yet only a week after McGinley made those comments there came a report that Clarke had been lined up for the position -- and that the former Open champion preferred 2014 over 2016.

Clarke swiftly countered that no such offer had been made to him, but a seed had been planted in the minds of many.

Then just before Christmas Clarke aired an alternative scenario, one which brought Montgomerie front and centre in the captaincy debate.



Bolt

Clarke described Tom Watson's appointment as US captain as a "bolt from the blue" and stated: "I think it could well affect who we pick. Maybe we have to have a look and consider other people as well.

"Whoever it is standing on that stage opposite Tom Watson needs a huge presence.

"We seriously need the right man for the job. We do have a rule where we don't ask anybody to do it again, but we might have to look at that."

While subtly deflecting the spotlight onto Montgomerie, Clarke also said that first and foremost he wanted to try and force himself back into the side rather than pin everything on becoming skipper.

So McGinley, Clarke and Montgomerie seem closely matched in the race for the captaincy, but of course what the committee thinks is all that counts.

And the outcome of their deliberations next week will assuredly throw up plenty of talking points, whatever the decision.