On the 28th of January this year, Colin Montgomerie or ‘Monty’ as he is known to most in the sport, was selected as the ideal captain to guide the European team to victory and regain the 2010 Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor next year.
The Charismatic Scotsman was favourite for the role ahead of Sandy Lyle and Spaniard José María Olazábal, but although ‘Monty’ has proved in the past he can perform on the big stage, does he have what it takes to go one better and lead Europe’s elite to victory in Wales?
If Montgomery’s playing career in the Ryder Cup is anything to go by, then Europe must surely be favourites to win back the illustrious Cup in 2010. The Scot has a hugely impressive record in the competition having played in no fewer than 8 consecutive battles between 1991 and 2006.
Nick Faldo’s decision not to include him at the Valhalla Golf Club last year, instead offering wild cards to Ian Poulter and Paul Casey seemed to back-fire as the Americans defeated the holders with a 16½ – 11½ score-line.
His undoubted success in the Ryder Cup however is somewhat overshadowed by his lack of cutting edge in singles golf and rather unfortunately he will always be best known as on the greatest golfers never to win a major, which is something he will struggle to change at such a late stage in his career.
Given the current strength and depth of European Golf, it will be a difficult decision for Monty to select just twelve players who he feels are good enough to win back the trophy he is so determined to re-capture and the former world number two knows how important the next few months will be.
The 46-year-old has indicated that he has some ideas as to what his team will look like next year, but is determined watch closely and give every individual a chance to compete, right up until the last competition, he told Sky Sports.
“I’ll leave it to the very last minute to see what happens,” he said. “It would be wrong of me to strike somebody off the list and then he wins two in a row – I can’t do that.
He added, “I’ll be watching everybody very closely to see their attitude on the range, on the tee if they are playing with me and will watch them very closely on television.”
Their will me numerous tournaments for players to pick up points and prove to the captain that they deserve a place in the team, but Montgomerie has stressed this week that any players wanting a place must play in what he considers to be three of the most important events of the season.
The first is next year’s BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth. Defending champion Paul Casey will hope to make a happy return to the West Course next spring and former Championship Winner Montgomerie is hopeful many of his European hopefuls can impress at the European Tours flagship event. The other two notable events are the Wales Open which is to be played at the home of the 2012 Ryder Cup and next year’s Gleneagles.
With the Ryder Cup just over 12 months away, it comes as quite a surprise that the captain should declare that he has a good idea what his final team will be, but Monty is looking forward to guessing just how close his current draft will be compared to one that do battle come the 1st of October 2010.
“I’ve put down 12 names already and it will be interesting to see how close they get to what I think. I’m not going to say how many from Valhalla are on the list but there is a nucleus and a selection of rookies there.”
He added, “But these ‘rookies’ will be established world players and that’s fantastic. Rory McIlroy may be a rookie in a Ryder Cup sense but he is hardly a rookie in the sense of becoming a major player in world golf.”