Monty slams Poulter absence
Even when he isn't playing or captaining, even when his role is supposed to be nothing more than a watching brief, Colin Montgomerie sets the agenda. When it comes to stealing headlines the former European number one has form that would make Ronnie Biggs blush.
So on a day that produced an abundance of talking points, ranging from the latest heartfelt message from Seve Ballesteros, to Rory McIlroy retracting his infamous Ryder Cup "exhibition" quotes to the continent's reigning number one, Robert Karlsson, describing how close he came to needing injections in his eye, it was still our Monty who made the news.
Montgomerie couldn't help himself as he spoke on the eve of the Continental Europe versus GB and Ireland clash for the Vivendi Trophy at Saint-Nom-La-Breteche near Paris.
When a Ryder Cup skipper singles out one of his likely team members for criticism it will always be newsworthy - especially when that player was Europe's top performer in the last Ryder Cup and is no stranger to making headlines of his own.
Ian Poulter is the man in Monty's sights and after a night out with his mates in Orlando (according to his Tweets), the Englishman will now be finding out that Europe's captain rather thinks that he should be here playing for the GB and Ireland team.
Asked about several of the high profile absentees from the Vivendi Trophy, Montgomerie singled out for criticism Poulter, with whom he has had a history of spats.
"Not having qualified for the Tour Championship, and having been picked for the last Ryder Cup team, I felt that a little more effort might have been made to come here," Montgomerie said.
"Please don't make a big issue of this," he added. "I just feel that when you are selected for your country, more of an effort might well have been made."
Speaking on Radio 5 live Montgomerie elaborated on why Poulter, a wildcard pick by Nick Faldo for the last Ryder Cup team, should have made himself available for Paul McGinley's GB and Ireland line-up.
"There are others who have made a good effort to play, Rory McIlroy coming in from Korea, Robert Karlsson coming back from illness, Miguel Angel Jimenez, who has never missed a Seve Trophy from the word go," said Montgomerie.
"So there's people who have made that conscious effort and having been selected and having been picked as a captain's pick last time I feel that Ian could have given back a little bit more than he showed this week."
But Montgomerie made it clear that Poulter's absence wouldn't necessarily count against him were he to be in need of another wildcard selection for the 2010 match.
"I don't think it will affect me one way or another, I'm going to pick my strongest team," he said.
Meanwhile McIlroy had earlier explained how being in the team room this week had gone a long way towards making him realise his branding of the Ryder Cup as an "exhibition" last year had been somewhat misplaced.
"You're with a great bunch of lads and you realise that it's a bit more special to share your success with other people," McIlroy said. "It has made me realise how special team golf is.
"I made those Ryder Cup comments in the middle of the season and I wasn't remotely thinking of team golf so I take my comments back a little bit. This is a great opportunity for me to show what I can do in a team environment," he added.
Already the Northern Ireland youngster has been on the receiving end of plenty of banter for those comments according to his skipper this week McGinley.
One of the responsibilities McGinley has already faced was been to read a private letter from tournament host Seve Ballesteros who is undergoing radiotherapy as part of his ongoing treatment for a brain tumour.
The Spanish legend hopes to be here on Sunday but won't know if he will be strong enough to travel until the day. In the letter he spoke profoundly of how precious and short the competitive days are in a pro golfer's life and how they should be treasured.
Few know that better than Karlsson, the winner of Europe's Order of Merit last year. The Swede hasn't played since the spring because he has suffered fluid behind the retina in his left eye.
It is a condition brought on by stress and he accepts it was the price of making himself number one in his continent last season.
He knew there was something wrong when it seemed as though the sand was moving as he looked at a bunker shot. The condition has cleared through rest and eyedrops, though at one stage doctors considered administering an injection into the eyeball.
Karlsson is thrilled to be playing again after spending the summer with his family. "I know a lot more about my kids now and a lot more about my wife - and yes we are still married," he joked.
On another day Karlsson might have topped the news agenda, so might McIlroy or McGinley - but not when Monty is in town.