And Paul McGinley thought that everything was looking up. Now he's facing an anxious wait on the results of an MRI on a hand injury that could hamper his bid to rack up some Ryder Cup points before Christmas.

Two weeks ago, McGinley was riding the crest of a wave at the Vivendi Trophy in Paris, where he rubber-stamped his credentials as the only viable candidate for the 2014 Ryder Cup captaincy by leading Britain and Ireland to an impressive victory over a strong Continental Europe side led by Thomas 'The Diplomat' Bjorn.

Never a man to think too deeply before opening his mouth, the Dane reminded why he's second favourite now behind McGinley for the Gleneagles job when he called Padraig Harrington to task for "running to the press" to complain about new membership rules when all he did was answer questions from reporters.

Harrington feels that requiring players to play four core events on European soil smacks of protectionism. He even wondered aloud whether the changes that will go before the Tournament Players Committee in Portugal next week might be in breach of European Union rules on restraint of trade. Cue Bjorn and that mouth.

For the Dane to say that Harrington "always uses the press" is rich indeed. Remember, this is the man who danced all over Ian Woosnam in the verbal equivalent of hob-nailed boots when the Welshman overlooked him for a Ryder Cup wildcard in 2006.

"We have discussions, he gets word of it and then he uses the press to slam the Tour," said Bjorn said of Harrington.

Compared to Bjorn, McGinley looks like Henry Kissinger. And he knows that being seen as a proper player and not a has-been is important to his Ryder Cup captaincy hopes.

Ranked 190th in the world, he needs all the help he can get if he is to have even the remotest chance of making Colin Montgomerie's side to face the US in Wales next October.

But he was forced to pull out of this week's Madrid Masters suffering from strained tendons in his left hand and must be doubtful for next week's Portugal Masters.

"It's repetitive strain injury," McGinley said. "I have had a scan and will get the MRI results in morning. I am hopeful that I will be able to play in Portugal next week but it all depends on the results."

McGinley is 16th in the European Points List with five to qualify through that route for next year's matches in Wales. There is almost a year to go in that process and he will need a miracle to qualify automatically unless he starts winning soon.

“It is not a realistic goal to make that Ryder Cup team," he said recently. "I am going to miss $50m in prize money that the other guys can play for. Being realistic my best chance of making the team is through getting a pick and being really high up the order of merit and competing at a really high level for the next 12 months. If I do that I think I will have a very strong grounds for a pick.”

Missing tournaments through injury is not going to help. Then again, Bjorn might cheer him up by catching another dose of foot-in-mouth disease next week when the proposed chances to the membership rules will be on the agenda again.