Lee Westwood has ruled himself out of the running to be Europe’s next Ryder Cup captain, leaving Padraig Harrington as the overwhelming favourite.
Westwood had previously expressed a desire to captain Europe at Whistling Straits in 2020, but told the Daily Telegraph he would “wait until Rome” hosts the biennial contest in 2022 to make his bid for the role.
The 45-year-old also told Sky Sports News that he felt three-time major winner Harrington was the “perfect candidate” and better equipped to lead Europe’s attempt to retain the trophy won in convincing style at Le Golf National, where both he and Harrington were vice-captains.
The captain is selected by a panel comprising the previous three captains – Bjorn, Darren Clarke and Paul McGinley – European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley and a member of the Tour’s players committee.
“There’s a process to go through and I think you’ve got to look at ‘are we covering all bases?’,” Bjorn told a press conference ahead of this week’s British Masters.
“But I’ve always said when you’ve got somebody that’s a three-time Major champion and has the pedigree that Padraig has and holds the respect of the players that he does, it would be difficult to see him not doing it at some stage.
“If he wants it this time around, it’s difficult to get around that he is very much the favourite to get the job.”
Rory McIlroy has also backed Harrington’s case to succeed Bjorn in 2020.
“I’ve always thought Padraig would be a good captain in the United States,” McIlroy said. “He’s won a lot of golf tournaments over there, he’s won a PGA Championship.
“I think the continuity in the European camp having all these vice-captains this year and preparing for captaincy down the road has been a huge foundation of why we’ve been so good.
“No matter who the captain is next time they’ll be ready and I’m sure will do a great job.”
© Agence France-Presse (Additional edits by Joseph McBrien)