Player burn-out worries Monty
Throughout his long playing career Colin Montgomerie has always favoured the European Tour over the PGA Tour - the Scot is far more Wentworth than Ponte Vedra Beach.
But that hasn't stopped Europe's Ryder Cup captain from taking note of what has been happening Stateside over the last three weeks and observing the success of the play-off series that comes to its climax at next week's Tour Championship.
Players who have successfully been beating the cut-off marks as the PGA Tour has progressively whittled down fields and are now among the elite top 30 who will compete at East Lake, are clearly in form but despite this week off they're also likely to be exhausted.
"They'll be finishing the FedEx Cup and jumping straight on a plane to come to the Ryder Cup," acknowledges the European skipper.
"Of course I want them to be playing well but at the same time I want them to be rested. Walking round Celtic Manor five times in three days is an effort under that pressure and six hours out there for each round, it's a lot so I'm in two minds. Hopefully, yes they'll be playing well and yet I'd like them rested as well - I'm in a Catch 22."
As he pondered the situation it was clear he was trying to decide which scenario he would prefer. "I'd like them all in the FedEx Cup, to be honest, and then just rest up," Montgomerie concluded.
"Whether we play 18 holes practice every day Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday is up to them and me. We'll decide what's best for them, but most importantly they're playing well coming into it."
Montgomerie (right) is likely to choose Paul McGinley as one of his Ryder Cup assistants
Arguably the captain more disadvantaged will be Corey Pavin as his American team is more likely to have players doing the full stretch in the play-offs.
More immediately on this side of the pond next week's Vivendi Trophy with Severiano Ballesteros - the match between Great Britain and Ireland and continental Europe - has suffered as several big names are missing.
This is a shame for an event that is also suffering from branding difficulties. It used to be the Seve Trophy and fans had become used to the name and knew what it was all about. Now we have to start again.
Montgomerie will be there aboard a buggy as the most interested spectator.
"Big names are missing but there are some big names playing," he said. "I'd like to focus on the players that are playing, we have the Henrik Stensons, the Rory McIlroys and there could be some great match ups especially in the Sunday singles."
Although not having a playing or captaincy role in the match, Montgomerie is bossing the event.
"I think the 10 players on each team will be very anxious to impress me and I'll be watching them. They know I'll be watching them and under that pressure if they do impress me they get a tick in the box."
It is clear Montgomerie has identified McGinley and Bjorn as his most likely assistants for Celtic Manor. "That's exactly what I've put them in that place for," he said, while acknowledging that both still harbour hopes of playing in Wales next October.
Montgomerie was speaking at the launch of "Golf Live" at the Stoke Park Club in Berkshire. The interactive golf show aims to attract 36,000 spectators over three days next May.
The Scot and Casey are the first to sign up to the project which is one of very few new corporate golfing initiatives to have been announced in these credit crunched times.
It remains a challenging period at every level in the sport. This week European Tour boss George O'Grady has been in the Middle East and there's continued speculation that the big money Race to Dubai won't be as cash rich as was intially and lavishly unveiled.
So a few furrowed brows at the Tour's Wentworth HQ where an announcement is being planned for next week. The mood is perhaps a touch happier in the Ponte Vedra Beach offices of the PGA Tour in Florida after the compelling three weeks of play-off action.
At the very least it has been a fine distraction from economic woes - though somewhat ironic given that $10m awaits someone who frankly is well off enough not to be in need of such riches.
But that's the way of professional golf, it is all about the money - apart from, of course, the Ryder Cup, which has no prize fund.
The big hope has to be that the dash for cash the week ahead of next year's match doesn't impact adversely on what remains golf's most popular event.