These days, being a Ryder Cup captain is about more than just picking pairings or driving a cart. The men are the face – and voice – of their respective team, the central figure for the players, tours, organizations, sponsors and fans.
And it’s why Sergio Garcia said this week that he is “concerned” for Miguel Angel Jimenez, who is hoping to be named the European Ryder Cup captain for 2016 at Hazeltine. Garcia told reporters in Turkey that he is “worried” that his fellow compatriot’s English is not good enough for the very public role.
“I know Miguel’s been a good Ryder Cup player and he’s been a great Ryder Cup vice captain, but becoming a captain is different,” Garcia said, via Bernie McGuire’s report. “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.
“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, and 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.”
Jimenez, 50, played on four Ryder Cup teams and served as an assistant on both the 2012 and ’14 squads. He said last month that he would “love” to be the captain, but he’s a heavy underdog to Darren Clarke, an eloquent, thoughtful speaker who was even used on NBC’s coverage of the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles.
The five-man European committee is expected to name the next captain early next year.