Colin Montgomerie has insisted he harbours no bitterness over losing out on the European Ryder Cup captaincy to Paul McGinley, with the Scot even claiming he would be a willing vice-captain at Gleneagles next year.
McGinley's selection was confirmed at a meeting of the European Tour's tournament committee on Tuesday evening. Yet the Irishman had to hold off a late charge by Montgomerie, a winning Europe captain in 2010, despite strong player power in support of McGinley's bid.
"I'm not at all disappointed," said Montgomerie. "I never proposed myself and it was flattering to be proposed again. You only do this once and it was nice to be proposed by fellow players. It was great.
"I wasn't in the picture until about a week before Christmas when I heard others felt there was an opportunity to captain the team at home in Scotland. It would have been a dream come true but it hasn't happened. It was only in the last couple of weeks that my hat has been thrown into the ring by others. I haven't pressed this in any way, so I was flattered to be in that position."
When asked if he would form part of McGinley's backroom team, Montgomerie added: "I'll do anything for the European Tour. I would love to be involved in anything to do with the Ryder Cup. I've devoted my career to the European Tour and any time that anyone asks me to do anything for them, of course I'll be there."
The push for Montgomerie – although he publicly underplays his own strong ambition – highlighted the fact there was not initially complete backing from the committee for McGinley. The confirmation of a unanimous selection owed plenty to the realisation that a number of the world's top players – Rory McIlroy, Luke Donald and Ian Poulter the most vocal – were firmly in McGinley's corner.
Montgomerie concedes he will not captain Europe again. "Unless we keep losing and I do a Tom Watson and come back. Which I do hope doesn't happen for the sake of the tour," said the 49-year-old.
It is also unlikely that McGinley would call upon Montgomerie as an assistant. Padraig Harrington is a firm favourite for such a role with Paul Lawrie the most legitimate Scottish option. Lawrie was spoken about as a 2014 captain but, with a top-30 world ranking position, retains proper aspirations of playing at Gleneagles.
McGinley stressed he "knew it wasn't true" upon hearing late last year that Darren Clarke was a certainty to lead Europe. He was more taken aback by Montgomerie's appearance on the scene. "I was surprised," McGinley said. "He said quite clearly that he was not going to go again.
"Having said that, he was totally within his rights to change his mind. I had no problem with it. He said some really nice things to me in the corridor when the decision was made. I know he will be very supportive of me and the European team."
For McGinley, the dream of coming into direct competition with a great, the US captain Tom Watson, is now reality. One commonly used point against McGinley's candidature was that he lacks the profile or playing success to challenge Watson. "That is where the argument comes in, I wanted to get on Twitter or have a conversation with somebody and say 'look, this is the other side of the coin,'" McGinley said.
"Padraig Harrington put it eloquently when he asked 'Why try to compete against Tom Watson?' The only man who could compete against Watson is unfortunately no longer with us and that's Seve Ballesteros.
"I think when Tom went in as Ryder Cup captain interest escalated and interest in our captaincy escalated. That can only be good for the Ryder Cup, the European Tour and Gleneagles. I'm relishing the opportunity of going against my boyhood hero. He is a guy that I really respect. He is a hard man and a fair man."
With captaincy matters settled, attention in Abu Dhabi turns to the HSBC Golf Championship. McIlroy and Tiger Woods play together early on Thursday morning with the focus bestowed on that duo fully accepted by Justin Rose, the world No5.
"They clearly deserve it," said Rose. "Rory is the No1 player in the world and Tiger is certainly the best player of our generation. So they deserve the headlines.
"I'm totally fine with that. Coming in under the radar is never a bad thing, I'm happy to let the boys have the limelight. I'm glad they are here because those are the guys you want to be coming down the stretch against. If you win the tournament, it validates it; you come away feeling really proud to have beaten a world class field."
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