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James will play in Ryder Cup if he qualifies

Mark James will abandon his role as Ryder Cup captain if he makes it as a player.

He has put his vice-captains Sam Torrance and Ken Brown on stand-by to take over.

But those two could face a real challenge from Nick Faldo, who will not qualify as a player.

James, after a solid Open where he finished tied 43rd, said: "I will not do both."

He is currently in ninth position in the Ryder Cup rankings, pushed down two places by Scot Paul Lawrie's incredible win at Carnoustie and Frenchman Jean Van de Velde's runner-up spot.

Sky TV commentator Brown said: "If Mark qualifies for the team, he will play because he deserves to be in the team.

"It would certainly be an interesting dilemma. I think it is impossible these days to play and captain, and Mark has said he will do one or the other.

"If he qualifies he will play and there will have to be a new captain. That would be down to the Ryder Cup Committee and the powers that be. But certainly nothing has been decided as yet."

James, veteran of seven Ryder Cup campaigns, was one of Seve Ballesteros's trusted aides when Europe beat America two years ago.

When the hugely-experienced James - nicknamed Jesse - was invited to be skipper his form was indifferent. Since then he has enjoyed a shock renaissance.

But Lawrie's Open win has pushed him down the rankings after at one stage being sixth.

Now James is being hotly pursued by Spanish sensation Sergio Garcia in 10th, with Scot Andrew Coltart 11th and German Ryder Cup veteran Bernhard Langer 12th. The first 10 in the rankings automatically make the team, with the captain allowed two `wild card' entries.

The captain, whether it is James or a swift replacement, will announce those after the BMW International in Munich at the end of next month.

Swede Jesper Parnevik, Faldo or Langer, if they do not make it in their own right, are favourites for the wild cards.

Langer's form during the Open suggests he is peaking at the right time to face the Americans in Boston this September.

The next few weeks will be a crucial and difficult period for James, who has come under fire from retiring captain Ballesteros for not making his position clear from the outset.

"James knows what he must do," said Ballesteros.

James insisted: "I've said all along I will only do one job. I will not be taking any decision for about four weeks.''