The former Ryder Cup captain, Sam Torrance, believes his successor, Bernhard Langer, has committed "an error" in refusing to rule out playing in next year's event.
Torrance has urged Langer to make his mind up quickly rather than leave a decision until a few months before the contest at Oakland Hills in Michigan in September 2004.
Langer said he would give up the captaincy if he looked like qualifying for an 11th appearance against the United States, equalling Nick Faldo's record.
But Torrance agrees with Faldo that such a move would be unfair on Langer's replacement - "When does he change his mind, after the shirts have been chosen or before?" Faldo asked recently - and feels that the veteran German needs to decide sooner rather than later.
"It's an error," Torrance said. "You can't do both jobs, that's impossible, so you have to be one or the other.
"It's an all-time consuming job the captaincy, perhaps not as much for an away tie as a home one, but Bernhard can't leave it late because someone has to step in."
The Ryder Cup has played a significant part in Torrance's career, from holing the winning putt at The Belfry in 1985, through being vice-captain during the controversial contest at Brookline in 1999 to leading the European side to victory last September.
"The whole thing has been a fairytale and telling all about it has been the favourite part of my autobiography," added Torrance.
The Scot turned 50 earlier this year and has turned his attention to the Seniors Tour, on which he hopes to qualify for the lucrative American circuit.
"I love the seniors, it's like a school re-union and I feel like a young rookie," added Torrance. "Unfortunately I have to go through regional and final qualifying and that means missing the UBS Cup unless I win on my remaining invite."
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