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Monty's all smiles with name in the frame

Iain Carter | 12:45 UK time, Friday, 16 January 2009

Colin Montgomerie had just played a magnificent shot into the final green of his second round here in Abu Dhabi and glanced to his left to see a knot of reporters waiting.

He says he couldn't understand why we were there. It was his first answer in a process of stonewalling worthy of the finest political exponent.

We'd heard the news that his odds to become the next European Ryder Cup captain had tumbled. That was news to him too, but he seemed very comfortable handling the questions that followed.

Those answers constituted a string of unconvincing denials and the most telling response came when he was pressed on whether he would prefer to be a player in the match at Celtic Manor in 2010.

Colin Montgomerie talks to 5 Live's Iain Carter in Abu Dhabi

"All I have ever said is that I would like to help the European cause in any way shape or form in 2010," he said.

Well actually that's not what he has always said. This represents a subtle and significant shift that opens the way for the Scot to be Nick Faldo's successor.

He also confirmed that the issue of the captain's age had been discussed at length when the Tournament Committee met here on Tuesday.

The feeling was that Faldo at 50 was perhaps too far removed from the younger members of the team. Monty would be 51 in 2014 which is when he has always said he would like to be captain.

Could the discussion of this issue have led to the odds tumbling? Monty thought that might be the case.

He also confirmed the next meeting of the Tournament Committee will be on Wednesday January 28 and was categorical that an announcement would follow. This has since been confirmed by the European Tour.

"We have to get the best man for the job," Montgomerie reiterated.

Until now he has always championed the cause of fellow Scot Sandy Lyle. Again there was a subtle shift.

"I have always said it would be a great shame for Sandy not to get selected and it would be, but that's not my end decision. I'm just one voice on the committee," he said.

Appointing Montgomerie for Celtic Manor makes a lot of sense. It would free up Jose Maria Olazabal for the away match in 2012 and removes the age issue that would otherwise haunt Monty at Gleneagles in 2014.

It would be a big blow to Ian Woosnam supporters but it has been hard to detect any enthusiasm among the committee to re-appoint a former skipper.

After Montgomerie's second round 67 there were smiles and quips all round, autograph hunters were obliged and he was in his element, centre stage once again.

He didn't say anything that could be construed as letting the cat out of the bag in the 10 minutes he spent with us, but his body language and demeanour spoke volumes.


  • Comment number 1.

    Montgomerie would be a timely choice, but with a US-based VC.
    I'd suggest Parnevik, but no idea how compatible they are.
    Who would you choose??

  • Comment number 2.

    Faldo's age was not a problem. If there was one it was that he had not played on the European Tour for so long and so did not know some players well. That would not be the case with Monte in 2014!

    Anyway, my impression was that he did get on well with the young players who grew up with him as their hero.

    The young players played well in the Ryder Cup, it was the older ones who did not perform.

    Why do we always have to have a scapegoat and not just accept that we lost to a great side away from home. Even Man Utd do that occasionally!

  • Comment number 3.

    Monty isn't a Faldo i.e. he's not wrapped up in golf course design, or for that matter based in the US for most of the year on commentating duties. Age isn't an issue, he knows all of the young guys and what they're about by playing on the tour (not week in week out but more than enough to hit his quota for the year).

    I still think he has 1 more Ryder Cup left in him, if he brings a good level of form into wildcard time it'd take a brave man to leave him out.

    Lyle has had little to no involvement with the young players in god knows how many years, so how he's in the reckoning (especially after showing his utter arrogance at The Open this year gone) is beyond me.

    For me i'd bring back Woosie, home crowd, home captain and has one heck of a personality. VC - Torrance?! Now that would bring everyone together!

  • Comment number 4.




  • Comment number 5.

    When Faldo was appointed RC captain, I had my resevations and they were subsequently proved right. I have also some reservations about how good Monty will be as a captain. He might be the media's dream but he does not know when to stop talking and he loves nothing better than have centre stage. I can see him boring the pants of most players in team talks and even though they respect his golfing achievments, I understand, like Faldo, he is not popular with all the players.

  • Comment number 6.

    I feel it will be an absolute disgrace if Woosenam gets the nod. I am shocked his name is even being muted. The whole process is now a farce. Faldo was a very dodgy vote but he got it not because he was an insiprational character and leader but because of his record and what he has done for European golf. If it is not Lyle, and , it doesnt look likely now, then that is also a disgrace. There are many people who have very short memories and creating a criteria to suiit themselves. For Torrance to get in and not Lyle is a joke, let alone James. Lyle is a legend in British and European golf and the captaincy should be a reward. There is too much made about the role of the captain. This is his only chance. Woosenam chose not to be the captain by choosing Ireland. For him sniffing around now is shameful and does him nor Wales any credit. It is times like this I am embarrassed by the European Tour. The decison to go to Celtic Manor, for those of us who remember that process was a joke. Wales out of all the european countries is not, and never will be, a credible venue for tournament golf. Money determined the outcome and the course and venue isnt good enough. It has to be Lyle. If not, shame on Europe. For those on the commitee, I hope you can sleep at night. If it wasn't for the likes of Lyle the fat underbelly of the tour would not exsist.

  • Comment number 7.

    Just poor this hesitation-follows on from the defeat in America and shows a lack of direction.Pavin will be licking their lips-They must surely go with Lyle as the Capt and Woosnam as deputy thats a very strong partnership and fans and players will embrace it.He{ Lyle }totally deserves it just as much as Faldo remember he was the 1st brit to win the Masters -hes a legend and has far more ABILITIES THAN FALDO IN A TEAM SENSE .If Mark James can be captain how can they leave out Lyle its a joke-yes and both last two teams Olly has been involved with lost-its a no brainer Captain Lyle

  • Comment number 8.

    The big issue seems to be 'what is the captain for?'. Is he just a figure - head, a great former player, or does he make a difference to the success of the team by his team building and decision making ability. Surely it must be the latter? If so, it's that ability which needs to be assessed, not how well he used to play. I have not idea who would do the best job - but do you think that a major FTSE company would appoint someone because he was a nice guy? No!

  • Comment number 9.

    If we are to have a chance, the Ryder Cup captain must be picked for the right reason, such as team spirit and choosing the right pairings etc, not as a rewards for past services. For this reason, Lyle and Woosnam should not be picked and my money would be Ollie.

  • Comment number 10.


    Er, explain why it would be an utter disgrace for Europe's last Ryder Cup winning captain to get the nod in his own backyard?
    Lyle lost a lot of his 'legend' status when he walked off at the Open. I didn't expect to see that of a 'winner'. How would he motivate the team in a damp and windy Celtic manor?
    "Go out there lads, do your best, I'll see you in the 19th when you're done, bit wet out there for me I'm afraid".
    By the sounds of it you've also got an axe to grind against the Wales/the Welsh.
    Celtic Manor did a superb job in getting the Ryder Cup. There aren't many purpose built courses designed with the public in mind. Celtic Manor has been built with small hills at varying locations which will allow each gallery in and around it to be able to see several holes in play at any one time.
    The risk and reward holes on the back 9 will also produce some very exciting golf, particularly in match play.
    Oh, on a final note it's mooted not muted and Woosnam not Woosenam.
    Nos da!

  • Comment number 11.

    Who cares really?
    Golf is not a team game and the Ryder Cup is a sideshow. Now that the accompanying circus gets as much publicity as the golf and golfers no wonder the really top guys, i.e.Woods and Mickelson don't give it too much attention or take it too seriously.

    All that the arguments above highlight is how long ago it is that Europeans won Majors. The two guys everyone is arguing about were worthy Major winners, then did relatively nothing for the rest of their careers. Neither exactly makes the blood race like a Seve who wasn't the greatest captain either.

    Leave it to the Tour and move discussion on to more serious golfing matters.

  • Comment number 12.

    The reason why it would be a disgrace is that it would be reversing the policy of only being captain once. Wosenam was given a choice knowing it was was coming to Wales and he chose Ireland. Anyone who watches golf knows Celtic Manor struggles to cope with 72 holes let alone the Ryder Cup. Terry Mathews bought the Ryder Cup by bringing it to Wales when there were several prime courses overlooked. It was a sham. It was not chosen on merit. The Tour filled their pockets with Welsh gold. Fools Gold. And as for Lyle loosing his legend staus because he walked off? Are you serious. I suppose we should withdraw the same staus from Faldo, Ballesteros etc for their questionable behaviour over the years to. As I say people have a short memory. Nothing against Wales. Its just not up to the task

  • Comment number 13.

    I think it's a disgrace if Lyle gets overlooked again. It would appear the committee are changing the goalposts of the selection to appoint their cronies. Don't get me wrong, i'm sure both Olazabal and Montgomery will make fine captains but what's with the touting of McGinley, Clarke and Bjorn as future captains? They say we don't want to pick on sentiment.....well I would say I don't want the captains picked on popularity or cronyism. Lyle along with Seve, Faldo, Woosnam and Langer blazed a trail for the current European stars and it would be a travesty if this was overlooked by the players committee. Remember Lyle for being one of the most talented golfers of his generation and a double major winner and not for walking off of last years open. Something he publicly regrets. Some say because of this he hasn't the strength of character to be captain but I say someone who has gone from his highs to his well documented lows without so much as a grumble has character in abundance. I think Lyle would make an excellent captain but it would appear the powers that be don't agree.

  • Comment number 14.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 15.

    If Montgomerie is made captain I will support the U.S.
    By his on-course behaviour hHe has been a disgraceful ambassador for the game of golf and it will be a sad day if he is "rewarded" in this manner.

  • Comment number 16.

    It's a long time since Sandy Lyle was a force in the game and is way out of touch with todays players. I don't think the Captaincy should simply be a reward for past glories, so I'm not surprised that Lyle appears to be out of the running.

    I can see a case for re-appointing Woosnam. He has the confidence and experience that comes from being a past winning Captain, and the home crowd behind a Welsh Captain, might just make the difference in the tight matches coming down the straight.

    Olazabal would make a great Captain in the US in 2012, and I'd keep him back until then.

    If they decide against Woosnam on the grounds of age or that they don't want to re-appoint past skippers, then I think it has to be Monty.

    So its Woosnam or Monty for me. Lyle I think has missed the boat, and in my opinion, rightly so.

  • Comment number 17.


    That's utter rubbish. The Ryder Cup wasn't 'bought' in order to come to Wales at the expense of other courses being overlooked. Since Valderrama was chosen as a venue it was obvious (and only fair since they became Team Europe) that the venue for home Ryder Cup's would be various locations within Europe, not just England.
    To that end, each venue making a bid would obviously have to meet certain criteria, which Celtic Manor obviously does.
    As I've said, it was purpose built for the event. I'd hazard a guess that the performances by Woosnam during his career and the Ryder Cup also played no small part in being awarded the venue, as was the case with Seve and Valderrama.
    Furthermore, where is the rule that says that an individual will only captain the team once? Why do some express a desire to 'give it another go' after they've had their turn?
    The rule must have somehow been overlooked during the Gallacher and Jacklin tenure's!
    Lyle, great player that he was appears to be out of touch with the modern golfer. It's unfortunate but since his Major successes he has become somewhat the grey man of European golf.
    He would make (as he has previously) a great VC but probably lacks the charisma or drive to carry off the role of Captain.

  • Comment number 18.

    Please, please please please!!! Pick Monty.

    This will guarantee a US win.
    Monty is the most uninspiring person ever to pick up a golf club.
    All the pressure to pick him is based on sentiment, not on any inspirational qualities he may have on the team.
    Sorry, I am a hypocrite, it is only a cup competition, has no meaning to the rest of golf (except to UK fanatics). Pick who you want.
    US team won in 2008 with inferior individual players than Europeans. The Ryder Cupis meaningless.

  • Comment number 19.

    oh dear Mr Northwales. It was bought by Terry Mathews. The courses in contention were not based in England but principally in Scotland, that know a thing or two about managing golf with a bit of rain, which Celtic Manor just hasn't quite got the hang of. I have played Celtic Manor and I have played Loch Lomond, the other course principally in the frame. There is no comparison. When you walk off Loch Lomond you realise the whole thing was a joke. I remember with great detail the decison making process and the comments at the time that 'this wasn't a golfing decision.' The tour made the decison after Gallacher not to have repeat Captains given the number of candidates that deserved the position. Woosnam chose Ireland, not Wales. Spain deserved to host. They have made a significant contribution to the development of European golf. Wales, just a little, mostly through Woosnam. I know there are others but who really cares about them. Woosnam was part of the famous five as was Lyle. His credentials are in no way better than Lyle's. In some way it is lesser. The only thing Woosnam had going for him was that he was part of the Sunningdale/Wentworth set with Torrance and James. Lyle was not. Funny how they got the nod before Lyle. It looks like Lyle will never become captain to the shame of all of us who support European golf. Woosnam sniffing around again with the help of his best mate Torrance just makes me sick at their greed and self intrest. I just cant get over Torrance and have lost all respect for him. It won't be Woosnam, it will be Monty. Least he started off following the logic of Lyle, but he has had the plan all laid out in front of him. It beggers belief we find ourself in this mess. There should be an orderly succession. Captain, Vice Captain who then becomes the next Captain. I love golf, but sometimes I need to be reminded that the European Tour is not golf. It is just money. Thank god the custodians of the game sit in St. Andrews and not Dubai

  • Comment number 20.

    All this scrambling for the Ryder captaincy is a bit unseemly. The job has become a "gong" that a procession of old players seem is to think is their right. Why not pick the best person for the job, and if they are successful keep them on. Remember when Bernard Gallagher was in the role?

  • Comment number 21.

    Bit of a spat going on here!Bjorn doesnt want Woosnam due to their fallout -Bjorn should not be in any way involved in this it should be for the senior board to decide , another thing coming up with all these excuses about age is not good -how old is Azinger ?50- he just beat us didnt he/ How old is Pavin?50-He will win too the way we re going. The decision should be over with- Lyle should be given the captaincy 100%then forget about the other guys they could well make the team anyway,remember Ray Floyd he played in the Ryder Cup and won-aged 51

  • Comment number 22.

    "The feeling was that Faldo at 50 was perhaps too far removed from the younger members of the team."


    Who on earth thought that? Faldo got on better with the likes of Rose, Casey, Poulter then anyone else.

    Age has nothing to do with who is captain.

    I would love for Woosnam to get the 2010 captaincy, with Olly getting 2012

  • Comment number 23.

    Lets get real here, the Ryder Cup captaincy should be something that is earned through exceptional play through the years, in both individual and team golf.... and Lyle is the obvious choice for Wales.....Forget all the talk of him not being "in touch with the current players".......that's runbbish....Montgomerie and Olly's chance will come........they more or less pick themselves for 2012 and 2014......there is too much emphasis on winning the Ryder Cup, that's not what it's can an event involving only the players of 2 continents suddenly become the most important event in's not...........In my opinion the Majors and WGC's are all far more important to real golf fans than the Ryder Cup......ask Tiger what he values more!....that's not taking away from the fact that it's a brilliant event

  • Comment number 24.

    It should be Lyle. If every one of the 5 is taking their 'turn' then he deserves it as much if not more than anyone. Seve had done so much between 76 and 84 and rightfully adopted Brit that he is it was in fact Lyle that brought Golf home in 85 as it were by being from Scotland and winning the Open after what had seemed like an eternity beforehand waiting for a British winner since Jacklin. People forget just how much of an impact Lyle made.

    Lyle was honest when he walked off the course at the Open. That day a couple of players walked off but they had the good sense to tell fibs about sore forearms and wrists to awaiting journos. One mistake by Lyle should not condemn him. He's apparently very popular amongst the tour veterans of similar age and roundly regarded as a great gentleman. There was also a Swedish pop band named after him so maybe such kudos can win over the young ones.

    IMHO it should be Lyle, then Ollie, then Monty and if there are any doubts then shore things up with shrewd VC picks. Thereafter the Captains and VCs should start to reflect the greater shift of successful players coming from the continent.


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