Jose Maria Olazabal has edged ahead of Colin Montgomerie as the favourite to be named as Europe’s 2010 Ryder Cup captain.
Olazabal has come in from 1.75 to 1.52 with Betfair with Montgomerie drifting slightly from 1.60 to 1.62.
Welshman Ian Woosnam is the next best chance at 15.5 with Miguel Angel Jimenez 18.5 and former Masters and Open champion Sandy Lyle at 21.
“He is available. If he is offered the job he will say ‘Yes’,” the Spaniard’s manager, Sergio Gomez, said last Wednesday.
“We know it is a matter of two and there are factors favouring Jose Maria and factors favouring Monty.”
Insiders say that Montgomerie is a certainty to be named captain after he was overheard cheerily telling fellow Scottish pros on the range in Qatar: “I’m the next Ryder Cup captain.”
The double Masters champion pulled out of this week’s event in Qatar but does plan to play the Dubai Desert Classic starting next Thursday.
“He had a small problem with his wrists and forearms and it was painful when gripping the club, but not too severe and he told me yesterday to confirm the flights,” added Gomez.
“But the chances of him making the team are not what he wanted or expected, so he made up his mind that he would accept the captaincy if it was offered.”
Apart from being the older of the two, Montgomerie has been heckled in the United States in the past and it was always more likely that he would be asked to lead Europe on this side of the Atlantic.
Olazabal has had no such difficulties with American fans in his career, the invasion of the 17th green in Boston in 1999 having nothing to do with the fact that it was him playing Justin Leonard.
He behaved diplomatically then while still conveying how wrong the premature celebrating was and is regarded as a safe pair of hands.
There are disadvantages to being an away captain, though, as Faldo discovered.
Opposite number Paul Azinger could set up the course how he wanted and used the crowd as “our 13th man”.
The 2012 match is at Medinah in Chicago.