WORLD No4 Sergio Garcia has raised doubts over Miguel Angel Jimenez’s Ryder Cup captaincy credentials because he fears his fellow Spaniard’s level of English is not good enough.
Jimenez, 50, has made clear his desire to lead Europe in 2016 and is second only to Darren Clarke in the bookmakers’ running, having taken part as a player four times and served as vice-captain twice.
But Garcia believes the claims of the oldest man to win a European Tour title may be fatally undermined by his communication skills when the next incumbent is anointed early next year.
“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,” said Garcia.
“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. Being a Ryder Cup captain is being the spokesman for the tour and the sponsors and so on, and then when the competition gets underway there’s so many speeches he will have to handle.
“The problem is that if English is not his first language, you can try to say something and it comes out so different compared to speaking in Spanish.”
Clarke is odds-on favourite to succeed Paul McGinley, who has insisted that he will not attempt to use his influence on the selection panel to block the Irishman’s path, despite their differences.
Who will captain Europe in 2016?
■ Darren Clarke: Irishman is odds-on favourite, despite bad blood with Paul McGinley, who is on selection panel
■ Miguel Angel Jimenez: Colourful Spaniard is keen on role and has served as vice-captain twice already
■ Thomas Bjorn: Dane played on this year’s winning team and has been vice-captain no less than three times