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Ryder Cup: Pick the man who has served his time

Decisions, decisions.

Everywhere you turn in the sporting world, there are those in authority scratching their heads like Stan Laurel trying to fathom out a cryptic crossword. Who do we get as the next Scotland football manager? Do we plough on with the 12-12-18 league structure? Who do we pick to be the next Scotland rugby coach?

It will be crunch time this week for the European Tour's tournament committee in the Middle East when the 15 men decide who gets to skipper Team Europe in the defence of the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles in 2014. As ever with these prolonged processes, speculation and intrigue becomes rampant, but we may finally get an answer in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday. Will it be Paul McGinley? Will it be Darren Clarke? Or will Colin Montgomerie answer the call of duty . . . again?

For a spell, it looked pretty straightforward. McGinley for 2014, then Clarke on American soil in 2016. But Clarke expressed an enthusiasm for the post at Gleneagles – it was reported last October that he had already been offered the role – before he stepped back on Friday saying it might not be his time. And then Monty's name got tossed back into the pot.

However, having won five Ryder Cups, three as a player and two as a trusted vice-captain, McGinley is an outstanding candidate. The likeable Dubliner, who trundled in the winning putt in the 2002 match at The Belfry, has also skippered Great Britain & Ireland to two victories in the Seve Trophy, a team tussle seen as a breeding ground for future European captains.

Diligent, articulate and with the kind of forensic attention to detail that would make the work of Quincy look slapdash, the 46-year-old, who has the backing of world No 1 Rory McIlroy, deserves his chance to lead the troops having served his time as a respected deputy.

Ever since the head honchos at the PGA of America unveiled golden oldie Tom Watson as their captain for the Gleneagles encounter, eager observers have been roaring that Europe now needs to follow suit and give the captain's armband to someone of equal stature. Clarke added fuel to this particular fire when he recently said: "Whoever it is standing on that stage opposite Tom Watson needs a huge presence."

Of course, this knee-jerk suggestion ignores the fact that the USA have lost seven of the last nine biennial bouts. They are the ones on the back foot and have been forced into seeking a radical remedy. Europe have found a winning formula and just need to carry on as before.

Then again, let's not get too carried away by the role of the captain. In the end, it's not complex brain surgery. We're always quick to hail a captain fantastic – and lambast a captain calamity – but really, it all comes down to the players.

What is needed is respect, organisation, the nous to assemble common-sense pairings and the good fortune that means every player pitches up and performs. McGinley would surely tick the first three boxes of that list. Only time will tell if he gets the chance to see how the fourth pans out. Give it to the Irishman. He deserves the opportunity.

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