BELEK, Turkey (AFP) - Darren Clarke's quest to become the new European Ryder Cup golf captain has been given a surprise boost with Spain's Sergio Garcia believing compatriot Miguel Angel Jimenez's lack of English will rule him out of captaincy contention.
Unlike the mess the USA team finds itself in, the vote for the 2016 European team captaincy at Hazeltine, Minnesota now seems a clear cut choice between Clarke and Jimenez, the Tour's oldest champion.
However Garcia, a veteran of seven Ryder Cups along with being a vice-captain in 2010, believes the five-man committee to choose a successor to Paul McGinley may rule out Jimenez given his limited grasp of English.
"I have to say I am still savouring the victory a month ago at Gleneagles and haven't thought much about it, but while Darren and Miguel are both good candidates I am just concerned for Miguel, and worried that his English is not good enough to deal with all the pressure that goes with being a European Team captain," said Garcia, the world No. 4 who is here for this week's Turkish Airlines Open.
"I know Miguel has been a good Ryder Cup player and he's also been a great Ryder Cup vice-captain but in becoming a captain is different.
"From the time you get appointed there is more than a year-and-a-half of activities, engagements, interviews and so on a new captain has to deal with.
"So it's important that everyone he speaks to over that long period understands exactly what he is saying because sometimes words can be misinterpreted, and being a Ryder Cup captain is being the spokesman for the Tour and the sponsors and so on, and then when competition gets under way there's so many speeches he will have to handle.
"The problem is that English is not his first language and you can try to say something and it comes out so different compared to speaking in Spanish."
A decision on the European captain is expected to made early in the New Year.