Paul McGinley and Thomas Bjorn — high on Colin Montgomerie's wanted list as Ryder Cup vice-captains — would love nothing more than to force him into finding someone else.
cAnd on yesterday’s evidence at the Wales Open at next year's cup venue Celtic Manor the two still have it in their power to qualify for the side.
Bjorn, out-scoring American captain Corey Pavin by six, opened with a five-under-par 66 to share the lead with England's Dougherty and 49-year-old South African David Frost.
McGinley, meanwhile, hit back from a triple bogey seven on his second hole and signed for a three-under 68.
"If I don't make the team I am happy to help, but if I am then I will obviously play," said 38-year-old Bjorn, whose last appearance was in the 2002 victory at The Belfry.
McGinley was the match-winner that week and was also part of the next two victorious sides, but missed out last year.
With an eye on next year's attempt to win back the Ryder Cup Montgomerie has made the pair captains for this September's Vivendi Trophy — the old Seve Trophy — between a Continental Europe side and one from Britain and Ireland.
But McGinley feels exactly the same as the Dane about his number one cup goal.
"I really want to make the team," said the 42-year-old, who stood down as an assistant to Nick Faldo because he felt it was a distraction to his playing career.
"I think Monty is going to be a great captain and I would love to play under him.
"Monty is going to announce who his vice-captains are going to be after qualifying finishes. Obviously he's picked myself and Thomas to be involved in the Vivendi and I don't think you have to put one and one together.
"I'm obviously in his mind somewhere in terms of those four people he's going to have, but I'm a lot more comfortable trying to make the team this year and whatever happens after that happens.
"That's when I'll be able to make a decision, but in the meantime it's gung-ho trying to make the team."
Ireland's Shane Lowry, who began his professional career with a six-over 78 last week, is in danger of a second successive missed cut after a six-over 77.