Padraig Harrington is in for 2020, but after that several huge names will have to miss out on the Ryder Cup captaincy. Mark Townsend predicts the next five to lead Europe

Europe’s next Ryder Cup captains: 2026 

Europe's next Ryder Cup captains

Adare Manor in Ireland has this one so we can make things easy for ourselves and tick off another of Bjorn’s vices in Graeme McDowell.

He’ll be 47 by then and, while he might have only played on four teams, which seems incredible, he’ll tick every box – charismatic, gutsy, astute, great speaker.

And Irish, of course.

Europe’s next Ryder Cup captains: 2028 

Europe's next Ryder Cup captains

And back to the ultimate templated US layout, Hazeltine. Now things really are getting awkward given that Casey and Donald will have brought up their half century and now we’ve also got Sergio Garcia and Justin Rose at 48.

Let’s eliminate Casey from our enquiries on grounds of, well, everything. Stenson, at 52, might now have gone by the wayside which, given his hugely likeable character, seems as criminal as it is irritating.

So we might have a toss up between Donald, Garcia and Rose. Let’s keep Sergio back for 2030 and a home match, hopefully somewhere on the continent, and look to Rose to lead us into battle.

And don’t for a moment think that I haven’t worked out that Rory will be 47 when Congressional and the 2036 matches roll around. Perfect.

Europe’s next Ryder Cup captains: 2030 

Sergio Garcia

So with Rory pencilled in for 2036 and Sergio still on the sidelines it seems like the simplest choice of the lot. Happy 50th birthday Sergio, here are the Ryder Cup reins.

With the venue to be confirmed, maybe we’ll even make it the perfect week and take it back to his homeland for just the second time.

The only possible weird thing about this is that he hasn’t played in the competition since France and all the talk of him being the record scorer for Europe will have run a little flat now that three players have overtaken him.