Graeme McDowell is clear on his choice for 2014 Ryder Cup captain. Just don’t ask him to choose sides in the Olympic debate.It’s a good news, bad news scenario for Paul McGinley in the race to captain the 2014 European Ryder Cup team. That’s if you believe that Darren Clarke hasn’t quite got it all sewn up.

The good news for the Dubliner is the Luke Donald and Graeme McDowell have now joined Rory McIlroy, Peter Hanson and Padraig Harrington in backing him for the job.

The bad news is that while the opinions of all players should be taken into account by the committee, none of the Ryder Cup stars mentioned will have a vote when, presumably, the Tournament Committee sits down to decide the matter early next year.

Clarke’s campaign for the job has backfired somewhat following reports that he had actually been offered the job by European Tour mandarins. Forced to deny that story on twitter, he’s now operating under a self-imposed code of silence on the matter.

Donald, however, has unreservedly backed McGinley ahead of Clarke, as Bernie McGuire reported for AP:

“From a personal point of view, and probably because I have spoken a little bit more to Paul McGinley, I find him a little bit more outgoing with me,” Donald said on the eve of the BMW Masters in Shanghai.

“Paul always seems very up for the challenge. But then I do believe that if he doesn’t get it this year, he probably won’t get it at all. Whereas, I feel like Darren will have other opportunities.

“So I would support McGinley as he’s been very diligent, very enthusiastic and whenever I have been around him I have enjoyed it.

“He just has a really good team vibe. He seems to think about the small things. That’s just what I’ve noticed.”

Ever the diplomat, McDowell made some excellent points while also playing the ‘Faldo Card’ by suggesting that just because a guy has won a major and a string of tournaments, that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s the best man for the job:

“It’s to do also with people skills and being able to possess organisational skills as well as leadership qualities as they all go into making for a great Ryder Cup captain.

“But then, given Ireland has never had a Ryder Cup captain, someone is going to be disappointed, especially if it’s not Paul, as he will be disappointed as he might not get another shot.

“Gleneagles is certainly his most legitimate shot because if Darren is handed the role for 2016, you’re then starting to look at Lee Westwood and Padraig Harrington being captain.”

Bernie was again on the scene for McDowell’s thoughts on golf’s return to the Olympic Games in 2016. The Ulsterman has remained neutral on the Ireland v “Team GB” choice for golfers from Northern Ireland and hopes that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) takes the decision out of his hands.

One can understand his plight but it remains doubtful that the IOC will rule on golf’s behalf when it leaves it up to boxers and other athletes from Northern Ireland to make their own choices. Should a citizen of the UK be left with no choice but to play for Team GB (Great Britain and Northern Ireland) when they might prefer to play for Ireland?

One wonders which Olympic flag Clarke would choose given his comments in his biography, An Open Book (Hodder & Stoughton), which was published today. Recalling his amateur career, Clarke explained:

“It was a proud day when I pulled on the green jumper and it also pandered to my materialistic tendencies. There was a Golfing Union of Ireland bag, shirts, jumpers and shoes, plus other bits and pieces. But first and foremost it was a wonderful feeling to be honoured by my country. It was another big step towards my goal.”