Olazabal wants Ryder Cup captaincy

Jose Maria Olazabal has put himself forward as a candidate for the Ryder Cup captaincy next year, even though all the signs now point to him having to wait until 2012 and Colin Montgomerie taking charge at Celtic Manor.

"He is available. If he is offered the job he will say 'Yes'," the Spaniard's manager, Sergio Gomez, told PA Sport today.

"We know it is a matter of two and there are factors favouring Jose Maria and factors favouring Monty."

Europe's tournament committee will decide the issue in Dubai next Wednesday.

Their discussions began in earnest in Abu Dhabi last week and it was only afterwards that Montgomerie, a member of the committee, emerged as favourite for the first match on Welsh soil.

He had previously indicated he wanted to play again next year and wait until Gleneagles in 2014 for the captaincy.

But he would be 51 then and the mood now appears to be to go for a younger man.

Nick Faldo was 51 last September, while Sandy Lyle and Ian Woosnam, both of whom expressed an interest in the role at Celtic Manor, would be 52.

Olazabal, three years younger than Montgomerie at 42, served as Faldo's vice-captain at Valhalla but said afterwards that he too wanted to fight for a place on the side next time rather than be captain.

He has played only two events since last May, however, because of continuing problems with rheumatism.

The double Masters champion pulled out of this week's event in Qatar but does plan to play the Dubai Desert Classic starting next Thursday.

"He had a small problem with his wrists and forearms and it was painful when gripping the club, but not too severe and he told me yesterday to confirm the flights," added Gomez.

"But the chances of him making the team are not what he wanted or expected, so he made up his mind that he would accept the captaincy if it was offered."

Apart from being the older of the two, Montgomerie has been heckled in the United States in the past and it was always more likely that he would be asked to lead Europe on this side of the Atlantic.

Olazabal has had no such difficulties with American fans in his career, the invasion of the 17th green in Boston in 1999 having nothing to do with the fact that it was him playing Justin Leonard.

He behaved diplomatically then while still conveying how wrong the premature celebrating was and is regarded as a safe pair of hands.

There are disadvantages to being an away captain, though, as Faldo discovered.

Opposite number Paul Azinger could set up the course how he wanted and used the crowd as "our 13th man".

The 2012 match is at Medinah in Chicago.