Former Ryder Cup captain Mark James believes Miguel Angel Jimenez is the man to lead Europe’s bid to win back the Ryder Cup.
The losing skipper from the 1999 match says Jimenez should take charge of the home team against the United States in France in two years’ time. Spaniard Jimenez is a crowd favourite and played on four Ryder Cup teams, most recently in the victory at Celtic Manor in 2010.
Currently dividing his time between the European Tour and Champions Tour at the age of 52, Jimenez has been a Ryder Cup vice-captain three times, in 1997, 2012 and 2014.
Englishman James, who handed Jimenez his Ryder Cup playing debut at the Battle of Brookline 17 years ago, is convinced the cigar-smoking man from Malaga would be an inspiring leader at Le Golf National.
“If Miguel Angel Jimenez wants to be the next European Ryder Cup captain, he’s the man the selection panel should go for,” James told ESPN.
“There’s no question that he would make a brilliant leader, and I think he’d be better in Paris in 2018 than in Wisconsin two years later because he is a little extroverted, and it’s easier to be that way at home.
“Jimenez has done everything you can except win majors in the European game. He has won 21 tour titles, is highly respected by his fellow players and is well-liked. He has to be the No 1 candidate.”
James added: “Beyond Jimenez, Lee Westwood and Thomas Bjorn would be good candidates, and Europe is lucky there are some great options.”
Danish veteran Bjorn is an early favourite for the role with bookmakers, while Westwood may want to banish bad memories of Hazeltine with another stab as a player in 2018. The 43-year-old finished without a point from three matches in Europe’s 17-11 defeat at Hazeltine at the weekend.