HONG KONG (AFP) - Ryder Cup veteran Miguel Angel Jimenez says he would "love" to captain the European side and is throwing his hat in the ring for the next showdown in 2016.
The two-time vice-captain was one of Paul McGinley's deputies in Europe's 161/2-111/2 victory over the Americans at Gleneagles in Scotland last month.
Jimenez, 50, was also vice-captain to the late Spanish great Seve Ballesteros in 1997 and has played in four Ryder Cups - finishing on the winning side twice.
The evergreen Spaniard, who is the oldest winner on the European Tour, now wants to step up and lead Europe's finest golfers to a fourth consecutive triumph in two years' time.
"I would love to be captain. That is something that every player who competes in the Ryder Cup wants to do," Jimenez told AFP in an interview before this week's Hong Kong Open.
The next edition of the biennial team showpiece takes place at Hazeltine National in Chaska, Minnesota, and Jimenez sent a message to selectors that he was ready to take the reins.
"I will put my name out there and hope the committee decides that it's going to be myself," he said.
Jimenez must convince a panel of five, including three previous European captains - McGinley, Jose Maria Olazabal and Colin Montgomerie - that he is the man for the job.
The panel, which also includes England's David Howell and chief executive of the European Tour George O'Grady, is expected to make its decision early next year.
Europe have won eight of the last 10 Ryder Cups with vice-captains often going on to lead the team - something Jimenez thinks works in his favour, along with the fact he still competes with the continent's top players.
"When we pick a captain who is active, that's very important. It helps a lot," he explained.
"Paul (McGinley) was playing on the regular tour, I play on the regular tour, Olazabal plays on the regular tour. I think that's the best thing we are doing."
And Jimenez already has experience of leading continental Europe - he was playing captain during their draw with Asia in the inaugural EurAsia Cup in Malaysia earlier this year.
The flamboyant star, who won his 21st European title in May when he took the Spanish Open, was full of praise for McGinley's captaincy.
"Paul was a great captain. He got very into each match. Being involved and helping him and the rest of the guys was an honour for me."
But the cigar-smoking golfer, nicknamed "The Mechanic", wouldn't be drawn on public criticism of United States captain Tom Watson by America's multi-major winner Phil Mickelson.
"It's easy to talk after the defeat happens," said Jimenez, bidding for a record fifth Hong Kong Open title in the southern Chinese city this week.
"Unfortunately for them we retained the trophy, but if they had won would people have had the same criticisms?
"Always you can do things better but it can also always be worse," he added.
Jimenez is looking to become the first player to win the Hong Kong Open three years in a row, but he'll face stiff competition from a star-studded field when the tournament gets under way on Thursday.
Golf hall of famer Ernie Els and Asia's sole major champion Y.E. Yang are also competing in the US$1.3 million (S$1.65 million) co-sanctioned European Tour and Asian Tour event which finishes on Sunday.