European Tour boss George O'Grady has hinted that there could be a dual Ryder Cup captaincy announcement in Dubai on Wednesday.

Colin Montgomerie and Jose Maria Olazabal are battling for the right to lead the side at Celtic Manor in 2010 with the Scot regarded as the favourtie to get the nod with Olazabal following on in 2012 in Chicago.

Of course, a double captaincy announcement is not unprecedented on the European Tour, which named Ian Woosnam and Nick Faldo as captains for the 2006 and 2008 matches during the Dubai Desert Classic in 2005.

Speaking at the Qatar Masters, the biggest tournament in world golf this week with 18 of the world's top 50 in action, O'Grady said: "Two captains at the same time? That would only happen if there were two really outstanding candidates. And we have at least two really outstanding candidates." 

He added that the players committee had made serious progress in its bid to find the right man for the job in 2010 but added that things could change when the decision is taken in Dubai on Wednesday.

"They (the committee) moved ahead a long way in Abu Dhabi," O'Grady said. "There are quite at a few names on the list. There are favourites there that have been well chronicled in the papers and it will be very interesting.

"I think we are very fortunate in Ryder Cup Europe now that we have so many outstanding candidates. We have got Montgomerie's name going into the ring and goodness, what he's done for the Ryder Cup and what passion he has for the Ryder Cup. 

"Olazabal will be a wonderful captain one day. Sandy Lyle, Jimenez, Paul McGinley, there are so many players like that. The power of oratory on Wednesday afternoon could swing a whole committee. Two people swayed them at the last meeting by saying we must get the best man for the job." 

The European selection process has become highly public in recent years with thousands of columns inches dedicated to the theme.

But O'Grady does not see Europe going down the American route, where the executives of the PGA of America choose their man rather than the players themselves.

He said: "One of the strengths of the European Tour is that the players choose their own captain. Our chairman Thomas Bjorn has spoken to virtually every exisiting Ryder Cup player to get their views. It is their man who is captain. 

"Under the Amercan system it is the executives who choose their captain. They have a criteria - must be in a certain age range, must be an outstanding player. But when he is chosen, the one person wins and nobody loses. 

"Our committee do not want a lot of campaigning for captain because there are going to be so many outstanding candidates for the next few matches, there will be really good candidates left out and it is very tough. 

"But the days of Tony Jacklin captaining four times, Bernard Gallacher three times, they have all agreed that those days are over. I could name you eight people who are all good enough to be Ryder Cup captains and there are just not enough matches."

O'Grady confessed that the tour is concerned about talk of leaks from the committee following last week's well-chronicled betting affair, when Montgomerie went from rank outsider to Ryder Cup captaincy favourite following the Abu Dhabi committee meeting.

He said: "We have checked it out and said we would investigate it. You are not going to find much in regular bookmakers. It is a private arrangement between the person who lays bets and them. We have certainly spoken to people who have spoken to newspapers. Betfair have been very helpful. 

"Miniscule amounts of money have been placed on these things. There was no unusual bet. It was more £30 here £20 there that moved the market. It was not significantly different to the average horse race. 

"Even so, confidentialty is huge. We may join the other sports and sign what's called a memorandum of understanding with the bookmakers so that unsual activities would be reported to us. 

"The money that moved hands with Betfair was on the Friday in response to a very well thought out article in the Daily Mail. If that is the case the it is like poeple who buy shares in the stockmarket if they read something in the newspapers, that's all . 

"Are we concerned? Of course. We monitor all other sports all the time. A lot of our big supporters are supporters of racing as well. We've had market professionals investigate for us  and I have spoken to Betfair and as far as they are concerned, there is no need to get concerned. But we don't like it."

The growing strength of the European Tour and its Race to Dubai became very evident this week.

As a decidedly B list field took part in the Bob Hope Classic on the US PGA Tour, the rewards available in Qatar have attracted the world's best.

Sergio Garcia, Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson, Ernie Els, Lee Westwood and Robert Karlsson the only players from the world's top 15 who are playing this week and every one of them is in Qatar.  

"I think you are going to find that these three tournaments, Abu Dhabi and Qatar are tremendous for the European Tour, O'Grady said. "It is a tremendous region and the Dubai Desert Classic next week rounds it off. You have got to go some way in the world to beat this tournament here in Qatar today. You could say that if you are playing golf for a living, it doesn't come much better than this." 


Past European captains

1979-81: John Jacobs, Eng (Lost, Lost)

1983-89: Tony Jacklin, Eng (L,W,W,D)

1991-95: Bernard Gallacher, Scot (L,L,W)

1997: Seve Ballesteros, Spa (W)

1999: Mark James, Eng (L)

2002: Sam Torrance, Scot (W)

2004: Bernhard Langer, Ger  (W)

2006: Ian Woosnam, Wal (W)

2008: Nick Faldo, Eng (L)