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Monty slams Poulter absence

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Iain Carter | 16:44 UK time, Wednesday, 23 September 2009

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.

Ian Poulter

"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.


  • Comment number 1.

    Montgomerie's a prat - he looks, thinks, talks and acts like a middle-aged bank manager and he'll be a millstone round the neck of the Ryder Cup team.

  • Comment number 2.

    I'm puzzled and slightly appalled that Misery-Monty still holds so much sway over British Golf. He's not exactly inspirational these days.

  • Comment number 3.

    Maybe i've mis-read something or just missed an incident in the past, but why does Monty keep on picking on Poulter? And what's the point in making his thoughts public? He doesn't appear to be picking on the others who have pulled out for similar reasons.

    I know that Monty and Poults have had beef in the past, but why continue it? Poults has given his reasons for not playing, so Monty should just let it rest.

    I agree with the person above who said Monty is a prat. He is! Proper middle-aged bank manager. Totally clueless and devoid of tact.

    It just seems to be the british way doesn't it. If the press aren't trying to destroy our sporting talent, then we'll have a damn good go at doing it ourselves!

    Just let the clubs and performances do the talking, children.

  • Comment number 4.

    Come on Ian, we're sick of Monty stories, 3 out of the last 4 blogs!! You don't have to choose the biggest story of the day, seems to me an easy way to select what to blog on. Put some effort into research and you'll find there are a wealth of golf topics that can stir the debating senses.

  • Comment number 5.

    I was going to say that most of these posts are a massive disrespect to the 5 time Ryder cup winner. There's little need to bring personality in to the discussion either as there are plenty of sportsmen who are devoid of those, Roy Keane anyone!?

    However he does seem to be doing wonders in the personal press department at the moment, there have been some big stories about Monty this year. It's just unfortunate that none of them are about his ability with the sticks.

    He hasn't got a book coming out has he?

    p.s. Monty is still worth blogging about and I think your blogs are great Iain!

  • Comment number 6.

    This man should not be the Captain of the Ryder Cup team, hes constantly embarrasses himself when he opens his mouth. Life Faldo before him let him have a go, and then lets not hear from him again.

  • Comment number 7.


    Agree totally, we knew this would be his style as soon as he got the job - expect more of the same in the coming months. All ego and anger.

  • Comment number 8.

    Unlike Monty, I am a bit speachless about all this......

  • Comment number 9.

    Grow up for McGinley, I'm sure during the course of this weekend he will utter the wourd "I'm so proud"......give me a break lads, this is a "NOTHING" event..................

  • Comment number 10.

    Quoting Monty here:

    "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."

    If it isn't a big issue, why even raise it then, Monty?

    It's interesting looking at Poulter's Twitter page as the entries from 18 hours ago mention how much the Ryder Cup means to him. It's also quite apparent how much his family means to him as well.

    Poor form on Monty's part to gripe publically.

  • Comment number 11.

    This blog doesn't become you or the BBC, somewhat akin to the Times Literary Supplement reviewing soft porn trash.

    Montgomerie should shut up.
    Reporters should stop placing him in the equivalent of compromising positions.
    Poulter should demonstrate with his golf game and his scheduling that he's worthy of Ruder Cup selection if he should fail to qualify automatically. He came up short in that regard in 2008 and no-one should doubt the probability of him coming up short again.

    There have been some truly uplifting stories in the golf world recently, and it would be good if the BBC chose to cover them.

    This is not one, more the equivalent of Max Mosley and Paris Hilton.

  • Comment number 12.

    Agree that if Monty didn't want to make an issue of it then why did he say it? I think he's enjoying the limelight rather more than being Ryder Cup Captain (I had originally put 'RC' Captain, but thought people might mis-interprit!).

    I think the scheduling of the Vivendi Trophy is to blame here, if they really wanted all the top players present, do they really think staging it when the final Fed Ex event is being held would help them?

    As a Poulter fan, I sincerely hope he just keeps quiet and concentrates n his golf and qualifiying for the RC outright....unlike last time.

  • Comment number 13.

    Mrs Doubtfires utterances are about as useful as Mihir Bose's blogs used to be on this site...

    Our hopes of regaining the Ryder Cup went west the moment he was appointed captain. The players just don't like him.

  • Comment number 14.

    Monty has always liked the limelight and as a golfer he is past it so he is making the most of it whilst he is RC Captain. I can't wait for the RC to be over and perhaps we won't have to put up with all his arrogance and hot air. It is interesting to note that most of the comments above feel Monty will be a poor captain and I agree. Why does he always feel he knows best and by constantly telling the players what to do and what is expected of them will only antagonise them. They are not a bunch of school boys, they are professional golfers at the top of their game. Monty was never in the same leaque as Jack or Arnie and should learn to keep his mouth shut or lose what respect the players have for him.

  • Comment number 15.

    Mrs Doubtfire is constantly making a prat of himself isn't he. He has always been a horrible person and nothing is changing. Do not fancy our Ryder Cup chances with him in charge. He just upsets everybody and everything.

  • Comment number 16.

    Colin is who is is. His personality was well known to those that appointed him as captain (as indeed it was to us). I am prepared to be a little more generous than the rest of you and accept that he will ocassionally poke a hornet's nest or two. I actually rather like it that way mind you.

    I'm not sure that picking out Poulter was a good idea, as to be quite honest my view is that he would be perfectly justified in criticising all those players that have ryder cup aspirations and chose not to attend this event.

    All the top European golfers (though notably the Poulter, Rose, Westwood brigade) joyously tell us that the Ryder Cup is a huge event and that they are desperate to participate, yet there is no recognition that a little more might be required than just shooting for the points or a wild card. How many team event tournaments are there is World golf? Very very few. So surely, Monty might expect potential players to take the chance to practice this specific form of the game when given the opportunity. I think he mentions Poulter specifically because it was Poulter who made such a fuss about wanting to play the last RC and was generously (and probably rightly) given the wild card. This business about spending time with family is total nonsense. There are 52 weeks in a year, countless tournaments on both tours that could easily be skipped. Choose one of those.

  • Comment number 17.

    I was a huge Monty fan, but over the past couple of years that has been completely reversed.

    Check out this fine assessment of the Lyle/Monty spat in the Scotsman at the Open this year.

    P.S Bernard Gallacher is not high on my list either.

  • Comment number 18.


    An interesting article.

    I found it strange however, that such was the desire to champion Lyle's comments, there was no analysis of why there was any need to raise them at all. If Lyle had concerns about the Jakarta incident, perhaps the time to raise them has passed.

  • Comment number 19.

    Iain, did Monty simply stride in to the press conference and start going on about Ian Poulter? If so, then it's quite, quite extraordinary.
    Or did your blog miss out something crucial - the question that was asked that prompted the expression of disappointment.
    Why, as a matter of interest, does the difference of opinion between Monty and Westwood over the latter's failure to turn up for the Vivendi Trophy not merit any significant coverage, in your eyes - certainly not the big jobbie you've delivered here?

    Just wondering.

    PS - Well said, andybarc. But why, I wonder, doesn't that article wax just as lyrical about Lyle's disqualification for a blatant rules infringement in a European Tour event some years ago?

  • Comment number 20.


    Lyle's disqualification came about because he put sticking plaster on his putter to avoid the sun's glare. Nick Falso pointed this out to a rules official as altering the characteristics of the club. Better, worse or the same as Monty moving his ball to make his shot easier??

    You decide......

  • Comment number 21.

    Andybarc @18

    From reading the different views, and hearing Sandy's explanation of the whole thing..... I can't give a direct quote, but it went along the lines of.... do you think that walking off the course after 10 holes (at Royal Birkdale) affected your chances of captaincy? No, I don't think it did, much the same that the Jakarta incident, involving Monty, did not influence the committee to pick him.

    That is how the whole tit for tat started. The European Tour come down on Sandy, after all they had just picked Monty as captain. (As it was said in the article) Monty has a small media machine and was able to make out that Sandy was muck raking to garner public sympathy.

    It will be very interesting to see, once the Ryder Cup dust settles (especially if we lose again) peoples reaction. The knives could be sharpened, especially in the locker room, and this could well end his career on the Tour.

    Ian Poulter's reaction to the snipes were a classic one to someone who holds all the cards. Family commitments, blah, blah.... Monty is a Legend, he will inspire... I am looking forward to qualifying for the team on merit.

  • Comment number 22.

    There is a new article on Poulter's reaction. I thought it was a sensible response. I tend to agree with the sentiments of Raurijm above. I don't imagine for one minute that Monty was busting a gut to tell the press about this, but it is more media driven than anything. Irrespective of all this, I still can't wait for the event itself! Celtic Manor will be in good shape (though the RC course looks a little easy for these guys).

  • Comment number 23.

    I have to agree on this one.... "Monty Slams Poulter Absence" is always going to get more people biting than "Monty Slightly Disappointed by Poulter Absence"

    12 months away and already the over hyping of every comment made is excessive. What will it be like the week before?

  • Comment number 24.

    JannerHatter - I am well aware of the sequence of events involving Lyle's club. One would expect he should have been aware of the Rules, as a pro.

    DundeeGadgie - very well put! We may all be barfing by the time the Cup actually starts.

  • Comment number 25.

    @19 RuariJM In the press conference Monty was asked a follow up to Paul McGinley's comment that Monty had been the man who had tried to get absentees to play. Here is the question: "Talking to Paul a few moments ago about the list of high-profile absentees from his team, he said he had spoken to Lee (Westwood) that was it, but you had a lot of personal dealings with the others?
    Monty: "Yes"
    Q.Can you perhaps enlighten us on that, and how disappointed you feel that they are not here?

    After excusing Paul Casey and Martin Kaymer because of injury, Monty then moved on to Ian Poulter with the quotes used above. He was the first person to mention Poulter.

  • Comment number 26.

    I have read Poulter´s reply and I was very impressed. He hasn't reacted in any way and has taken the positives from the situation. Like seeing the Vivendi as an opportunity to view the wealth of talent that we have in Europe right now. Shame the Captain couldn't see the same positives.

  • Comment number 27.

    OK, Iain, thanks for your reply.
    My feeling now is that probably the media was looking for a meaty story (I'm a journalist too, you know!) and Monty needs to work on the PR side a bit.
    Or maybe he has already and was even more cheesed off than he indicated...


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