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Monty chooses formidable captaincy line up

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Iain Carter | 15:04 UK time, Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Colin Montgomerie has always contended that Darren Clarke should have been in the last European Ryder Cup team, but his selection of the Northern Ireland player as a vice- captain for the 2010 match is a surprise.

In recent years they have not been thought to be close, even though they were partners for Clarke's European debut at Valderrama in 1997. It is their enduring mutual desire to beat America and regain the famous trophy that provides the common ground between the two men.

And getting Clarke on board is a real coup for Europe's skipper. He is the perfect supplement to the tactical intelligence provided by Paul McGinley and the passion and experience that Thomas Bjorn brings to the captaincy team.

It is, though, a great shame that Jose Maria Olazabal is not part of the set-up. At one stage the Spaniard was odds-on to be the captain for the 2010 clash and Monty's first move when he was appointed was to say that Olazabal would be part of his backroom staff.

But announcing this without first speaking to the two-time Masters winner didn't go down well with Olazabal, who has been away from the tour all season as he battles his long standing rheumatic problems.

This absence is the reason Montgomerie gives for leaving him out of the supporting cast for Europe's quest to regain the trophy.

There's also no room for a Welshman despite the captain saying on several occasions that he would like the host country represented and speculation that 2002 Ryder Cup star Phillip Price might fulfil that role.

Now it's over to Rhys Davies and his silky putting skills to try to force himself into the team, otherwise Celtic Manor's honorary captain Gareth Edwards will have to shoulder the home burden.

Regardless, Montgomerie has assembled a formidable line-up to steward what looks like being the strongest team the continent has ever fielded in a Ryder Cup.

Clarke was always a huge presence on the course as a player; someone the opposition would be keen to avoid. But his influence stretched further because he has always been a huge personality in the locker-room.

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How the 2008 Ryder Cup was won (UK only)

Players like and respect him as a character and as a golfer. Given his recent return to form, it might still be possible for him to play his way into the side and Montgomerie has said he wants him there in whatever capacity.

"Monty asked me last week at the Open," Clarke said. "We had been trying to get together for a couple of weeks before that. I wouldn't say it came as a surprise but no I wasn't half expecting it.

"It was one of those things where I've been trying to play myself on to the team and obviously the last couple of weeks have been better for me, but as soon as he asked me to be one of the vice-captains I jumped at the opportunity.

"He said to me 'look I want you at Celtic Manor one way or the other' so he's given me the option if I do play well and get myself on the team then that's fine as well."

Clarke, McGinley and Bjorn are like the three amigos. They are firm friends and command huge respect throughout European golf.

Montgomerie is more than aware of this and witnessed the leadership skills of McGinley and Bjorn at last years Vivendi Trophy when the Irishman's GB and Ireland team trounced the Dane's Continental Europe line-up.

McGinley was outstanding in his dealings with the players, creating partnerships and handling the media responsibilities. He will be the perfect assistant to Montgomerie in all of these areas.

Bjorn knows the politics of European golf better than anyone else as the chairman of the Tournament Committee and was widely respected for his role as an assistant to Bernhard Langer at Oakland Hills in 2004.

Clarke is the joker in the pack, the one who will raise morale when needed and set the mood for the team-room.

Most importantly Montgomerie is now talking about his captaincy "team" and treating it as a collective. There was always a danger that the 2010 Ryder Cup could become all about him, but already he is spreading the load and appears ready to share the acclaim.

This is a very positive sign and offers yet more reason to support the current extraordinarily short odds being offered on a European victory.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    What will Bjorn contribute? he has the personality of a brick.

  • Comment number 2.

    I hope the team is there to share the acclaim, but while it looks like the team is going to be made up of very good european players, what i don't see is the big playing leader. By choosing Darren as a vice, it suggests he's not going to be one of his picks.
    I feel that all of the players currently in the qualifying slots may need to look to a big inspirational player who is actually playing, a bit like what Monty was,(maybe a role for Sergio if he's a picked on the team).
    It may be that much harder without that type of player there.

  • Comment number 3.

    Monty is such a paradox in terms....he utters the term 'respect' as being integral to the Ryder Cup, yet he, as captain shows little on occasions to his fellow pros, and only when it suits him to the media!
    I watched him openly insult his two playing partners at the PGA in May after missing a putt for birdie on the fourth in the first round....He tapped in to finish and bustled off the green, leaving the others to finish off. As he was marking one card, he is supposed to 'see' the ball into the hole....he will NOT change and this flaw in his character will surface time and again under pressure. You cannot give confidence to those whom you are chosen to govern over if such insecurities continually haunt you. He worries me!!

  • Comment number 4.

    The Ryder Cup has taken on an apparent level of importance which far exceeds it's real relevance. It's a good event for sure but this media overload weeks, months and years in advance is too much.

    Re. the captain, Montgomery is an idiot and I'm sure most of the players recognise this. Good player - awful human being.

  • Comment number 5.

    Montgomery in charge will guarantee a huge loss to the USA. The guy is not worthy.
    Get Seve back in :)

  • Comment number 6.

    I agree with you Fred! What is all the posturing and personal praise about in the ryder cup. The speeches are so over the top, dont golfers congratulate themselves enough? they are only playing golf afterall and some seem to be hanging onto old traditions that do not make sense today. besides, does riding your club like a rodeo cowboy warrant a sickly speech about men,courage and so on! Plus, just my opinion, but I think that all the players must be secretly wishing that monty was not involved. He proves that he's a complete fool week in week out. He may be a nice guy out of golf but who knows or who cares! he comes across as arrogant and self absorbed and that will really frustrate the team if things start to go wrong. you need someone down to earth and he is not the right guy im afraid. the vice captains may have to pick up the pieces

  • Comment number 7.

    Why all this pointless bitterness towards Monty?

    I suppose some people would prefer it if the golfing world was full of emotionally retarded, robotic, nondescript also rans like so many of today's pros on the European & US tours appear to be.

    At least the big man is not afraid to show his emotions; he wears his heart on his sleeve and doesn't care what people think about him. I love it when he's got a face like a bulldog chewing a wasp but not as much as when he's grinning like a Chesire cat.

    I'm sure he will be beaming with pride when he lifts the Ryder Cup in 6 weeks time. I just hope the doubters on her have the golf balls to congratulate him when he does.

    Mind how you go.


  • Comment number 8.

    hes not emotional, he's just angry until it suits him otherwise. he may still win, but its not just down to him remember. the europeans are playing extremely well and may produce the goods despite him. i agree alot of players are robotic but some are probably only like that on the course. it takes alot of mental effort for them, so apart from that no im not going to congratulate someone who could lose his patience playing crazy golf and if these players are robotic and unemotional then why would they need someone to encourage a decent performance out of them. they dont, and we dont need a person like monty grinning pointlessly over their outcome

  • Comment number 9.

    Sorry Cody_Ya_Bass I couldn't resist.....it's 75 days until the end of the Ryder Cup, more like 11 weeks!

  • Comment number 10.

    Why McGinley? What tactical nous? He's not even a top player - Please do not roll out the old chestnut about him winning the Ryder Cup for us. Didn't Phillip Price beat Mickleson and secure an altogether more difficult point? Furthermore he didn't blether on about it for the rest of his career.

  • Comment number 11.

    There is far too much negativity in this country, we build people up to knock them down, why? Monty is the captain he is no fool, won numerous European tour events possibly the most talented player never to have won a major, as a Scotsman I am happy for him to choose his team. Lets all get behind him and the players and support them in what is to me a phenomenal adrenalin filled sporting event. Having been to the Belfry previously for a rider cup I can only say it was a wonderful experience. Forget how much they are paid or all the rubbish the press want to print if you love golf and sport lets get behind them, goodness knows we need some excitement after the world cup. (For the record I supported England)

  • Comment number 12.

    The fact that Monty has chosen 3 vice captains must be a good thing for the team. Apart from anything else it gives the new/younger players the confidence that they have the ear of guys who have all been part of a winning team and won many individual matches each. This was possibly one of the downfalls of Nick Faldo last time when he decided against the idea of more than one.
    Whatever the outcome, the selected players this time have the experience of over 20 Ryder Cups to call on and that can only improve the chances of a Europe victory.

  • Comment number 13.

    Well done Monty, 3 great picks as vice captains. All very experienced players and each will bring a different dimension to the team. Team moral is huge in the Ryder Cup. It just didn't appear to exist to any great degree in the last European team. Monty is an intelligent man and to bring in guys that he might not have seen eye to eye with in the past shows that his primary objective is victory for Europe. Yes monty has lost the plot a little in the past but I think he will be a fantastic captain. He has obvious passion for the Ryder Cup and I think he has the privilege of captaining potentially the strongest ever European side (certainly in depth!) to take on the USA. Comon Europe!

  • Comment number 14.

    3 excellent picks and let's hope the first of many sensible decisions that our Monty will make ! That's one more than Sir Nick.

    Once described by the media as a man child, which probably sums up his character, he is nothing if not great media copy.

    His biggest "problem" is the 3 picks.

    Casey, Rose, Paddy, Sergio, Stenson, Karlsson, E Molinari, Fisher, davies - the list is endless.....

    I'd pick Casey and Rose because they are on form and will combine well with some of those currently qualifying. Though I'd be worried about McGowan unless he finds form and Poults needs to lighten up, he is coming across as Mr Angry.

    Paddy as a character is a thoughtful engaging golfer but his form needs to pick up before he would be considered an automatic pick.

    The PGA and the Firestone tournament will hopefully make this choice a simpler one.

  • Comment number 15.

    Simon is clearly Jealous of big bad Monty.

    What's up pal? were you a good little boy but never rose above the boredom of mediocrity?

    Perhaps you have a talent for envy?

    Giveusabreak - fair do's I got it wrong.

    Mind how you go.

  • Comment number 16.

    Monty is a bizarre character, but Faldo was far worse, even though (possibly because) he was in a different league as a player. These are good picks as VC and agree with the comments above about how difficult his wildcard picks will be.

    How long into the first round before the first yank supporter yells something about Mrs Doubtfire?

  • Comment number 17.

    It always amazes me, sport or business." I have made my decision, who do I need to to tell first, before I make it public?" Olazabal deserved that phone call and Montgomery is made a lesser man for not having made it.

  • Comment number 18.

    Why do so many people simply see these blogs as an opportunity to have a go at people in black and white? Dull, boring, playground behaviour.

    The captain of the Ryder Cup almost always seems to engender this kind of outburst. Woosie just about got away with it (though there were enouh rumours and reports of bad blood), Faldo never stood a prayer (despite his most unpopular decision proving to be his most astute - Poulter was fantastic). Despite fulfilling the role a few times Langer was never overwhelmingly popular, many people look back at his captaincy through ros-tinted glasses.

    That's the thing about the Ryder Cup - it takes these sportsmen out of their natural environment. Golfers have spent many lonely years being solely responsible for their performance. They cultivate a mindset that shuts out everybody else bar the caddie because they know there is no-one else to blame after a bad round. Suddenly, every couple of years the Ryder Cup comes round and they have to play as part of a team. Some players take to this very naturally (Garcia, Clarke, McGInley), for some it is a struggle (Woods is the classic example).

    After years of golf severely hampering their social skills it is hardly surprising that they don't make the odd phone call (though I agree that it would have been much nicer if Monty had managed it)! This isn't an excuse - common courtesy should always have its place - but it is however, one of the great appeals of a competition that takes players some way out of their comfort zone.

  • Comment number 19.

    I agree, Bjorn has the personality of a cabbage. Perhaps Monty has picked him because his wife is a bit of a looker?

  • Comment number 20.

    I don't suppose we could get BP to sponsor the European Team could we!

  • Comment number 21.

    Here we go with one of the most over-hyped events in all sport. The Ryder Cup is fine entertainment and showcases a lot of excellent golfers, but it is the Carling Cup of Golf. Ask Lee Westwood if he would rather have 10 RCs or one Major.
    Dont waste your time on captain's picks, vice captains etc it is all down to the players.
    This year's contest will be a big anti-climax as the US team is very weak, no strength in depth or in-form stars. The European players are collectively and individually much stronger. Anything other than an easy European victory will be a shock especially with the partisan hype of a home crowd and the usual indifference of the US players to the RC when not at home.

  • Comment number 22.

    The US team are very weak? Are you having a laugh?! 4 of the worlds top 5 are from the US... never mind those that aren't even on the team - Mahan, Crane, Watney, Fowler, Bo Van Pelt, Bubba....

    4 months ago I was on here saying the opposite and it was the euro guys not doing too great. It could all change again. Form might not mean that much in the Ryder Cup anyway.

    I like the point someone else made about no real leader on the euro playing team to provide a bit of inspiration. I don't think Westwood (prove me wrong please!) and POD are the type so does that leave... maybe Poults? I think he's the most likely candidate.

  • Comment number 23.

    here we go.
    astute monty?,doing the exact opposite of faldo.
    faldo never had enough vice captains,its so important?....utter mince.
    why then dont we have 5 or 6 vice captains if its so important.!
    its a three day overated event that could basically go either way.whoever puts the best will win i guarantee that.
    nothing to do with captains,vice captains,team spirit or anything else.
    the previous captain got slated when infact the only real decision he had to make that might have been important was his two wildcards which were 'ian poulter' and 'paul casey'!!!
    i cant think of two more inspired wild card picks when you consider the media were actually insisting it should be 'darren clarke' and 'colin montgemerie'!!!.
    anyway what i am saying is win or lose it will be nothing to do with the totally overstated 'captains' role.
    p.s
    the americans will win anyway!

  • Comment number 24.

    Why the negativity about the Ryder Cup and about Monty. What is everyones beef? The Ryder Cup gives an opportunity for the European and US players to stop being individuals for a weekend and to play together. I find it fascinating to see how these great individuals deal with it (eg Woods) and you see great bonds forming between players (eg Westwood and Clarke) It is one of the greatest rivalrys in sport. What's wrong with a bit of hype? That's why we love sport.
    Monty - the guy is the European Tours most succesful ever golfer. He will get the utmost respect from all the players. Of course he desrves a crack at being the European Captain. fatClyde mentioning the "guy is not worthy" is showing your ignorance towards the sport. I also think he's got the captains picks spot on
    Let's stop all these negative vibes towards the Ryder Cup. It's time to start getting excited

    My Team (if picked today)
    Westwood, McIlroy, McDowell, Poulter, Kaymer, F Molinari, Jiminez, McGowan, Donald
    W/C: Harrington, Casey, Rose (or Stenson)

  • Comment number 25.

    Monty bringing Bjorn because of his hot wife, are you alaskan my any chance:

    http://www.zimbio.com/pictures/pyA_TpLiqYn/Vivendi+Trophy+Severiano+Ballesteros+Round/jAYKr8ZPWNP/Pernilla+Bjorn

  • Comment number 26.

    #21, Lairdy: Thanks for your input there. Not sure who you are to judge that the Ryder Cup is so overhyped. If people enjoy it, get excited by it and pay to watch it then it is clearly an event that matters. Some players absolutely love it, some players don't. The point is that the hype comes from the fans, the media and - believe it or not - the players as well. They know that it matters. Golf is an individual sport so it is understandble that players put majors first, but I'm fairly confident that for the vast majority of the players over that weekend they'll just be thinking of getting their hands on that trophy. If you don't enjoy that's fine (though I think you're missing out).

  • Comment number 27.

    Totally agree with Deep-heat.
    The Ryder cup may be overhyped, but evry large sporting event is saturated by media coverage, it is just because these sports broadcasters now have alot more resources to utilise.
    The Ryder cup is a great, enthralling saga!which deserves a place among the greatest sporting events on earth!

  • Comment number 28.

    Hadn't intended to badmouth anyone but somewhat surprised with 'Bowling Shane's' assertion that Monty is European Tour's best etc..... Assume that he missed watching Seve, Faldo, Lyle, Langer & Olazabal as multiple major winners, in their prime, with Monty playing in Europe while the big boys challenged overseas. Even Woosie's a former World No 1 while Rose managed to win Euro Order of Merit with a handful of (highly lucrative) appearances. On a similar note, given their history, can imagine Poults being too respectful.

    As with 2006, initial pick smacks of Chubby Chandler's influence, re Westwood/Clarke, with so many of the team in his stable - I'll be interested to see how wildcards stack up.

    To that end, if press coverage is correct, Monty has already told Garcia (World Ranking 44) that he only has to stay fit/turn-up to play. Interesting scenario if he goes on to pick Garcia ahead of Casey, Harrington & a raft of other higher ranked players. Casey already has a r/up in WGA Matchplay & 3rd in Open this year....

    Cheers

  • Comment number 29.

    golfer54 - i agree that Faldo, Seve, Langer etc are Europes most successful golfers from a major point of view and on a global basis, but my point was that surely if a golfer has won 8 European Order of merits (7 successfully) with a Ryder Cup record of being undefeated in 8 singles matches, playing in a total of 36 games and winning a total of 23.5 points that he has earned to right to captain the Europeans in the Ryder Cup....no?

  • Comment number 30.

    Unfortunately, I lost any respect for Monty following the Jakartagate incident, during the 2005 Indonesian Open. (too many weblinks to list but google Jakartagate if you unaware of this/are interested.

    Conversely, given Darren Clarke's reputation for honesty on the golf course, I'm surprised that he would give Monty the time of day.

    Monty would have been hounded out of many private clubs following this - to this day, I'm still not sure how he managed to escape a Tour ban.

  • Comment number 31.

    The Ryder Cup in Wales, in October.

    That is asking for trouble, weatherwise.

    Who thought that would be a good idea?

  • Comment number 32.

    A press conference to announce Ryder cup backroom team? Have these guys nothing better to do? This biennial bore is fast approaching the end of it's shelf life and the top echelon of players won't publicly say so, but they need this match like a hole in the head. What's Woods' and Nicklaus' Ryder cup record? Who cares?

  • Comment number 33.

    I love the RC - nevertheless I feel Colin is in danger of taking it a little too seriously.

  • Comment number 34.

    As far as the wild cards go, the only player he should definitely pencil in is Langer. Given all the different partners, many of them inexperienced he has had during his ryder cup years, his record is second to no one. He also will have total respect off every other player and they all would want to have him as a partner. Also he says he is playing as good as he ever has which is in itself a reason he should be a nailed on pick.

  • Comment number 35.

    Have to agree with Golfer54 and as well as the Jakartagate, remember the "your only here because of me" priceless moment. They guy is an absolute ponce and whilst I am backing Europe for a win, at one point during the event I would love something to go against Europe and watch Colin disintegrate into a mass of rage and childish tantrums. A wise man once said if you wish to hide your true character, do not play golf. Colin?

  • Comment number 36.

    I agree that Monty as a golfer week in week out on tour is without doubt an absolute tool. He is volatile, arrogant and hugely self-absorbed and tellingly well past his heyday now. I have never liked him and I never will. He bottled it on the biggest stage as an individual golfer, nobody measures your career on 8 OOM titles, it's all about majors and he failed miserably, even in 2006 when well past his best days he was gifted an opportunity to win the US Open, needed to get down in 3 from 150 yeards to win, 4 for a playoff, and took a crowd-pleasing 5 to get down for a double-bogey. What a consumate and consistent disappointment he was.

    However when it comes to the Ryder Cup, a team event, he is a totally different animal. His demeanour has never been an issue. He commands the ultimate respect and admiration of his teammates. His playing record is outstanding. He is Mr Ryder Cup. He has been instrumental in the success of the European team in the last decade, a natural on-course leader, and it is no shock that in the first Ryder Cup he missed since his illustrious career began that the Europeans were given an absolute spanking by an average USA team.

    Such was his stated importance to captains past such as James, Langer, Woosnam et al that I would not be surprised at all if he was heavily involved in decisions made on pairings and singles selections in the past few Ryder Cups in which he played. So despite himself he is without doubt the best choice for captain in this current era.

    Those who were touting Sandy Lyle will do well to remember that he can be as cantankerous as Monty at times and has not been properly involved on tour or with the Ryder Cup for well over a decade now - he has no relevance anymore except on the Seniors Tour. Olazabal's time will come in 2012. And I'm pretty sure that is it as far as potential candidates go.

    With Monty at the helm and a superb looking side with an English contingent that is the best we've ever had as a collective, I can't see the Americans getting a sniff.

  • Comment number 37.

    "nobody measures your career on 8 OOM titles, it's all about majors"

    Agree with this but not totally. Monty (or Lee Westwood, say, if he never does win a major) will enjoy a more exalted place in golfing history than a whole legion of one major flukes - the likes of Todd Hamilton and Steve Jones.

    Also, Greg Norman (with his 2 majors that ought to have been loads more) is higher in the food chain than Padraig Harrington, even though PH has 3 and is still active.

 

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