Pocket battler Paul McGinley will take a giant step towards the Ryder Cup captaincy at Wentworth today.
The Dubliner, 43, will be named as one of Colin Montgomerie’s vice-captains for October’s clash with the United States at Celtic Manor. And while that will strengthen his bid to become the first Irish Ryder Cup captain at Gleneagles in 2014, he could get his chance sooner than he thinks.
The British press has been rife with innuendo that Montgomerie, 46, could be forced to step down as skipper because of difficulties in his private life.
On Monday the Daily Mail said: “On television they referred so often last week to Monty’s off-course distractions and ‘a man with something clearly on his mind’ that you’d have thought that walking the plank and giving up the Ryder Cup captaincy might have crossed his mind.”
Just last month, the Scot admitted putting his marriage under “considerable strain” following reports that he cheated on his wife with a former girlfriend.
Montgomerie said: “I have put my marriage under considerable strain but we are working through these problems. I am very sorry for the hurt I have caused to the ones I love so much.
“I would ask that my family and I are given the space and privacy to continue trying to resolve the issues. I will be making no further comment.”
The eight-time European Tour Order of Merit winner was frequently grumpy at St Andrews, where he finished 20 shots behind winner Louis Oosthuizen on four over par in what could have been his last St Andrews Open.
On Thursday he snapped at a BBC sound man, refused to talk to the press and then barked at marshals on Sunday after they allowed fans to cross the 17th fairway before he got to his ball.
McGinley has made no secret of the fact that he’d love to be Ryder Cup captain after leading GB&I to victory over Continental Europe at last year’s Vivendi Trophy in Paris.
McGinley said: “The more experience I have, the more chance I have of getting the Ryder Cup captaincy. I would love to be Ryder Cup captain but it’s not my decision.
“It’s not something you go out and campaign for. I would love to do it, of course.
“Does Ireland deserve a Ryder Cup captain? Not necessarily. The captain should be the best captain at that particular time.
“Whatever country he’s from, it doesn’t really matter. I don’t believe he should be from a certain country. I believe the best man for the job should get the job.”