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Nick Faldo gains support from Tony Jacklin

Former European Ryder Cup captain Tony Jacklin believes Nick Faldo should take over the mantle from Bernhard Langer for the 2006 matches at the K Club in County Kildare, Ireland.

Six-times major winner Faldo, Ian Woosnam, Jose Maria Olazabal and Sandy Lyle are in the running to succeed 2004 captain Langer, who last week ruled out a second term in charge.

"Nick Faldo's major wins and his career set him aside, quite frankly, from anyone else," Briton Jacklin, 60, told Reuters on Tuesday.

"When you've been in the arena as he has for so many years, nobody knows better what it takes.

"I think he very much deserves the honour. Should he be passed up this time, he may not get it again," added Jacklin, speaking on the telephone from his Florida home.

"He's not always said the right things at the right time but he and I have maintained a friendship for many years.

"He was great for my team. He would be my first choice," said Jacklin, who led Europe to two Ryder Cup victories and a tie with the United States in his four spells in charge.

Although Englishman Faldo was considered aloof in the 1980s and 1990s when he single-mindedly dedicated himself to becoming the game's leading player, Jacklin holds him in high esteem.

"I can only speak for myself and how he was for my teams. Certainly Nick, for me, was always a straight-shooter and very honest about how he felt on a given moment," said the 1969 British Open and 1970 U.S. Open champion.

Europe's 2006 captain is expected to be announced on March 2, the day before the start of the Dubai Desert Classic.

Widely recognised as the man who helped re-establish European competitiveness in the biennial team competition, Jacklin believes Europe are fortunate to have several high-quality captaincy contenders.

"Woosie (Woosnam) would be on my list too, but I would see him being the captain in Wales," he said, referring to the 2010 matches which will be played at the Celtic Manor Resort in Newport.

"Woosie has done a great PR job for Wales and would be the ideal choice for 2010.

Jacklin was not surprised that Langer, who led Europe to a crushing victory by 18-1/2 points to 9-1/2 over the U.S. at Oakland Hills last September, had decided to step aside.

"He's a well-rounded individual, not selfish, and he's always done the right thing," he said.

"I think he would be looking on this as: 'I've been there and I've done it and it's time to move on, a lot of other stuff now needs to be taken care of'."

Jacklin, who captained Europe to their first victory in the Ryder Cup in 28 years at The Belfry in central England in 1985, said he could identify with Langer's decision.

"It's probably a bit like the choice I had to make after the 1989 Ryder Cup. It would have been self-indulgent for me to have gone on longer.

"I did it for four years and I asked during the fourth year how long I was supposed to do it because I was a little concerned, a little uncomfortable.

"We'd lost (in 1983) and then we won and then we won again (in 1985 and 1987) and I figured the fourth time was stepping one step too far."

Jacklin's final match in charge, at The Belfry in 1989, was tied with Europe and the U.S. finishing on 14 points apiece.

"Now that the Ryder Cup is established as a level competition, I think it's probably a good thing that an individual is honoured for his career," he added.

"It is a great experience and honour to be the captain but maybe once is enough.

"They've been doing that in America for some time now and I rather think we should probably be doing the same. It should be passed around."

 

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