Graeme McDowell is still only 42 but is already considering that the chances of him leading Europe’s Ryder Cup side are narrowing. The clever money would be on McDowell being the skipper at Adare Manor in 2027 but that would bring in the likes of Sergio Garcia, Justin Rose and Lee Westwood.
Next year it looks like being between Luke Donald and Henrik Stenson, with Robert Karlsson and Paul Lawrie as outsiders, and then there’s also Ian Poulter who would be a strong contender for Bethpage in 2025. Then again Phil Mickelson was being lined up for New York and his odds have gone the wrong way in recent weeks.
So McDowell, who played on three winning teams in four appearances, is wondering whether Italy in 2023 might be his best chance?
“I’m obviously playing with (newly named US skipper) Zach Johnson this week, walking around thinking maybe should I throw my hat in and go with him? I just don't think I'm quite ready. Part of me would love to because part of me thinks, if I don't take this one, I might not get it, which would be disappointing. But I kind of have to put my own individual career first. I desperately want to get back playing consistently well at a high level again rather than maybe taking my attention away and taking the Ryder Cup captaincy.”
There are glimpses of some good form from McDowell and the former US Open champ still has plenty of belief in his own game.
“Maybe part of me would be suggesting that I'm not good enough to make the team. Are there 12 better players than me in Europe right now? I've got to ask myself that question. If I'm out here doing what I'm doing, I have to say there's not 12 guys better than me, and I'm good enough to make the team.
“To be able to compete at a high level, I have to have that belief. If I take the captaincy then, that belief's not there. It makes it hard for me to compete. That's sort of what really the decision's got to come down to. I'd love to be captain one day, but if I don't take it this time, I'm well aware that I might miss, which would be disappointing.
"There's too many great guys stacking up. There's going to be seven or eight guys vying for the next five or six. Someone's going to miss. When you're talking about Westwood and Garcia and Justin Rose, you're talking about top, top European players, of which I am one, but those guys have maybe slightly different credentials than me.”