European Ryder Cup captain Jose Maria Olazabal has named a trio of potential frontrunners for the 2014 captain's job to be his assistants next month in Chicago.
The Spaniard named Thomas Bjorn, Darren Clarke and Paul McGinley as his vice-captains. The quartet worked together as vice-captains on the last Ryder Cup team, when the European side won by the thinnest of margins at Celtic Manor.
“I could not be more delighted than to have Thomas, Darren and Paul as vice-captains especially as we bonded so well supporting Colin Montgomerie in 2010," Olazabal said in a release. "All three are world class golfers with tremendous experience of playing in The Ryder Cup which is absolutely invaluable."
Bjorn, a two-time playing member, will be a vice-captain for the third time. He had been in the running to make the team as late as this spring, but has faded.
The 2011 Open champion, Clarke was on five European teams.
Irishman Paul McGinley, who was the likely successor to Olazabal before Clarke won the Claret Jug last year, was on three consecutive winning teams in 2002, '04 and '06. He holed the winning putt in his first Ryder Cup.
Olazabal's last vice-captain will be named at another date.