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Monty corners himself in Gleneagles dilemma

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Iain Carter | 17:42 UK time, Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Colin Montgomerie has given BBC Sport the strongest hint yet that he is prepared to make an exception to his wildcard selection policy to ensure Sergio Garcia will be in his Ryder Cup team this year.

Montgomerie has risked backing himself into a corner by stating that he wants and expects all the contenders for the European side to compete at the last qualifying event, the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles.

"I want to see them showing support for European golf and the European Tour," the skipper said.

The problem is the Gleneagles tournament is staged from 26-29 August, the same dates as the The Barclays in America which is the first event in the PGA Tour's lucrative FedEx Cup series.

Sergio GarciaIt is likely that players on the fringe of the Ryder Cup team could also be involved in the American season-ending series and will face an awkward scheduling dilemma. It is made even more problematic because that tournament does not count in the qualifying period for the European team.

Montgomerie has three wildcard picks to supplement the nine automatic qualifiers and believes he will be selecting from a likely shortlist of about eight names. "You would anticipate that the wildcard selections, all eight so-called possibilities, will be playing at Gleneagles," the captain stated.

His assertion flies in the face of recent history, because the two players chosen by Nick Faldo for the 2008 event, Paul Casey and Ian Poulter, did not play in Scotland in the final week of qualifying.

So is Monty laying down the law and telling players they need to forego American dollars to be sure of a pick?

Certainly that is the implied message for the majority, but the out-of-form Garcia appears to be the exception. The Spaniard limits his appearances in Britain, citing UK taxes as the reason for avoiding these shores.

"I, you and the listeners can't possibly envisage a Ryder Cup without Sergio, so he's a different case, if you like," added Montgomerie, in an interview which will be aired on BBC Radio 5 live.

"I will be asking him to participate at Gleneagles as opposed to playing in the FedEx Cup series to make the effort that is required to be on the team. I can't tell him to do that, I can only ask him and I hope he will be playing and I suspect he will be playing at the Johnnie Walker Championship."

Garcia is currently 89th on the American money list, without a top-40 finish in a strokeplay event on the PGA Tour this year. On that basis, he might not even figure in the play-offs but Monty is mindful that a lot can change in the coming weeks with three majors and a WGC event arriving in quick succession.

He also knows what Garcia brings to a European team. "He's the guy that has brought most passion to the Ryder Cup in my years after Seve. Seve Ballesteros was the most passionate player I have ever seen play the game of golf and Sergio is of that ilk and a fantastic asset to any team," Montgomerie said.

Colin Montgomerie

The danger for Monty is that he may leave himself uncomfortably short of room for manoeuvre by placing so much emphasis on the final qualifying event for which he is the tournament chairman.

Is a three-time major winner like Padraig Harrington going to feel obliged to head to Scotland if he hasn't already sewn up his place in the European side? And what does Montgomerie do if the Irishman choses to play in America instead?

Harrington's contribution in the last two Ryder Cups is nothing to write home about, but he has become Europe's pre-eminent golfer given his major successes and can't be left out.

Montgomerie accepts he could be in a difficult spot. "There's a lot of issues surrounding this scheduling clash. I will be speaking to everyone concerned on the fringes of that team for their views and their understanding and I would envisage most of them coming back to these shores as opposed to staying in America," Montgomerie said.

The Scot was speaking on the eve of the Celtic Manor Wales Open which is being staged on the course that will hold the Ryder Cup in October.

There is a smattering of likely members of the European side competing here, but not as many as the skipper would have originally hoped.

Harrington is recovering from knee surgery and Robert Karlsson is suffering the effects of glandular fever while Rory McIlroy, Henrik Stenson and Justin Rose are among those competing at the Memorial tournament in America.

It certainly would have been beneficial for the European cause if this event had followed directly after the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth rather than having a trip to Madrid sandwiched in between.

Players would have been much more likely to stay on and gain competitive experience on the 2010 course. It is a missed opportunity for Europe.

The question is will top golfers from the continent be missing another, far bigger, opportunity if they fail to heed their captain's call later in the year?


  • Comment number 1.

    monty's man management isnt exactly par is it?

  • Comment number 2.

    Monty will never compromise on his view of the best way to prepare for the Ryder cup. We can be sure that Monty will have more than a few things to say if any players are less than 100% in their support of him!!!

  • Comment number 3.

    will the ryder cup team be using putterputty pads in this years tourament, good luck to Monty and his boys

  • Comment number 4.

    Monty isn't the clearest thinker around, is he? The rule is you have to play at Gleneagles - unless you are Sergio? And by asking the eight potential wildcards to play at Gleneagles (Sergio excepted), is he saying that they will be picked on merit based on their performance at Gleneagles? I think a potential wildcard player would be entitled to feel very aggrieved if he complied with Monty's request, foregoing the finanical opportunities in the US, finished as one of the top two performers at Gleneasgles, but was still overlooked for someone who finsihed lower at Gleneagles.

  • Comment number 5.

    I agree with Montgomerie for the most part, think he'll be better off picking European-based players for the wildcards. No point in falling into the Capello trap of picking players on past form rather than what they're bringing to this year's party.
    But that would include Garcia, as well as Harrington and, if he doesn't stop playing just to make up the numbers, Poulter (in the team now, but a big uptick in form will be necessary to sustain that place).
    Would bank on Casey and Donald qualifying as of right, joining our favourite 606 correspondents in the "world" points.
    If the rest, Garcia, Harrington, Poulter, Stenson, Rose etc, are good enough they'll show it in the Majors. If not, they can sit Celtic Manor out.

  • Comment number 6.

    Monty's a fool. There is a faction that believes the Ryder Cup is THE most important event of any kind and being crowned captain is not an honor, its coronation. Monty is one such guy and he is showing it in this stupid expectation. He already had to back down about the Wales Open, now he'll step down over Gleneagles - GET A LIFE!

  • Comment number 7.

    Saddens me to say it, but my moneys going on the US.
    Mrs Doubtfire could just take Eeurope to the biggest defeat ever.....but of course it won't be his fault.

  • Comment number 8.

    Bring back Sandy Lyle....

  • Comment number 9.

    Mr. Droopy should be basing his selection choices on who's playing the best. Not who plays most on the European tour.

    Sadly, i think Droopy is bitter about his lack of success in the States, and so doesn't feel other players success there should be taken into consideration when selecting the team.

  • Comment number 10.

    All about the eventual result, of course, but not sure about Monty. Is he showing strong and passionate leadership qualities ... and how much the whole event, the Ryder Cup, means to him ... or is he getting his knickers in a twist?

  • Comment number 11.

    I love playing golf and I love the history of golf but I can't help feeling that the importance of the Ryder Cup has dimished since the introduction of "The Race to Dubai" and "The Fedex Cup". It very much, reminds me of how Football's FA Cup has become less important since the introduction of the European Champions League.

    Unlike in the times of Samuel Ryder and Abe Mitchell, golf is an international game. Montgomerie should realise that many of Europe's best players are going to want to compete and test themselves against the worlds best. Unfortunately, that means playing on the PGA tour. Who can blame them for wanting to play against Woods, Mickleson et al every week for vast sums of money? 3 of the 4 Majors are held in America so it's understandable, to me, that pro's want to play there and enhance their chances of winning a major.

    Does it really matter if the wildcards are playing well in USA or Europe? Not to me.

    Monty is the right man for the job based on his record in the Ryder cup but he has to realise it's not about him but about the team winning. If he remains stubborn regarding his beliefs and principles then the team will suffer and the press will slaughter him.

  • Comment number 12.

    Garcia has burned out, here are a lot more young players with just as much passion to take his place, Davies from Wales, is shooting the lights out now and CAN putt.
    of the three final places for wild cards you have Rhys Davies, Harrington, Mcdowell, Rose, Casey. Brian Davies, Stenson, Carlson, ross fisher.
    Not a bad problem to have but is Garcia a luxury we should do without?

  • Comment number 13.

    I think this attitude of "you must play in Europe" is somewhat strange. I was at the Wales Open (I work as a sports photographer, so was up close and personal for the whole week) and it seems to me that the TwentyTen Course is a tricky one to master. If it were me as captain, I'd be looking at the guys who are playing course record scores out there; Rhys Davies, Graeme McDowell et al.

    To me, it matters not how well you play at Gleneagles, or whether you turn up there at matters how well you play at Celtic Manor. None of the US team have played it, and Corey Pavin has only played in a staged pro-am round. The US team will have it very tough out there on a long course, with a lot of water hazards that will punish bad shot/club selection. It's not a course to go out and gun it big long distances, it's a course for people who are careful, sensible and measured. Davies played an outstanding round of golf on Sunday, 6 under for the front nine.

    These players who played well will certainly find themselves in serious contention. What does it matter if they're at the FedEx or Gleneagles?

  • Comment number 14.

    Kwini... If you think that guys who are playing full time on the European Tour would be a better pick than those who are playing the Majors and WGC's, then you are clearly mistaken. Week in and Week out the are playing against the best players in the world. No disrespect to the likes of the Spanish Open, Italian Open Madrid Masters and Wales Open but the field's dont have the depth. Its all very well with the likes of McDowell and Davies showing form but when the big boys come to play after the US Open at Munich, Paris and the Bonnie Banks you will see the cream rise. I know who I'd rather have in my team... Major winners and Players Championship winners. You must pick the best players available.. not some guy whos had a decent year on the European Tour.

  • Comment number 15.

    Phil McC:
    No argument with anything you say except for one thing: Our so-called best players with PGA Tour cards are just not delivering, with some obvious exceptions. Harrington, Garcia and Stenson are clearly struggling, Poulter hasn't had anything better than 9th on a Tour strokeplay event for over a year (I know, I know!).
    If there's a choice between the PGATourists playing badly and the European-based guys playing well, I'll go for an in-form McDowell, a Davies, a Kaymer, a Molinari every time.
    Garcia and Harrington were incomprehensbly bad at Valhalla, what makes you think they might show up this time?

  • Comment number 16.


    Garcia and Harrington will be there with bells on. at Valhalla 2 years ago, a certain Sir Nick was in charge and there was a definate atmosphere amongst the team. What ever you think or say about Monty he has the charm, personality and charisma to handle these boys.

  • Comment number 17.

    Phil, Let's hope you're right about Monty!! No-one would like to see an in-form, engaged Garcia and Harrington at Celtic Manor than me. But out of form and disinterested? No thank you. We had that with Faldo at Kiawah and have hopefully learned our lesson.

  • Comment number 18.

    Westwood, McIlroy, Poulter, Donald, Harrington, Casey, Kaymer, Quiros, Stenson, Karlsson, Garcia and Rose

  • Comment number 19.

    Trouble is, only six of this selection are currently in qualifying places. But no question they are 12 of about 16 players you'd like to see make the team. Probably no Danes as things stand, Kjeldsen's demise a touch surprising.
    Biggest disappointment to me is Ross Fisher's loss of form, almost entirely due to his putting woes. But I'm sure McDowell and Davies will be on Montgomerie's short-list, and rightly so.

  • Comment number 20.

    its called rydercupitus... not putting woes!

  • Comment number 21.

    Of course the lure of dollars will win over. Monty is the last of the generation who put the Ryder Cup at the top of their priority list. The current players are, I'm afraid, much more interested in thier bank balances. Would Seve have missed a European Tour event that jeopardised his ryder cup participation? I think we all know the answer to that question. I wish they would all play here but it is not going to happen so Monty will have to make the best of it and hope that his 'stars' qualify as rights through the world and european lists.

  • Comment number 22.

    i think you'll find that like this generation if theres money to be made, Mr M is just like them. Players have a schedule set out months in advance. They play the biggest tournaments around the World and if they dont happen to be an official ET Tournament then thats just the way it is. The RC is a massive and wonderful event that every player should be honoured to have on there CV's. However, it is a biproduct of playing good and consistant golf. No player is shouting out for a pick if they feel they arent going to qualify. I think you will also find that at this moment, it is very much at the back of the mind of most players as we still have 3 majors and a WGC to play along with 2 of the ET biggest events at the French Open and the Scottish Open. The RC does not make and break players carrers!

  • Comment number 23.

    Re Phil McC 18, I think Quiros will be too wayward around Celtic Manor, Karlsson isn't really in great form either. I wouldn't be surprised to see someone like Brian Davis or Martin Laird make the team, they are in good form (Davis has been recently very good form). Maybe a shout for McDowell and Molinari as well. I can almost see the pairs now.

    Rose & Poulter, McDowell and McIlroy, Westwood & Harrington, Donald & Casey with any 2 from 8 for the other pair.

  • Comment number 24.

    23... surely you mean 4 from 8. i dont think quiros is overly erratic. 2010 is not that tight... and with all the fairway bunkers playable, i thinks it right up his strasse. cant see donald with casey either... they never played together during 2004 or at the k club 2006. donald is the natural partner for garcia.


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