Monty ready to rouse his troops
Colin Montgomerie has penned an opening ceremony address he believes can rouse his troops and play a part in them winning.
Colin Montgomerie admits he has written a losing captain’s speech which he hopes to never use, but much more important, he believes, is the address he has penned for the opening ceremony.
This, he hopes, will rouse his troops and play a part in them winning back the Ryder Cup they lost on the other side of the Atlantic two years ago.
Montgomerie has spent more than 18 months thinking about, not only this week’s contest at Celtic Manor, but also all of the eight he has played in.
And while he is not going to be hitting a shot this time, he feels what he says on Thursday afternoon really can set the ball rolling.
Two years ago Nick Faldo was widely criticised for rambling on about his family, giving rookie Soren Hansen the wrong name (Soren Stenson), asking Ulsterman Graeme McDowell whether he was from the north or the south and saying that Padraig Harrington had hit more practice shots than there are potatoes in Ireland.
You can be pretty sure that Montgomerie’s words will be very different.
“I’m not going to say anything regarding Nick because I wasn’t there,” he said. “But you had to say that (Paul) Azinger was at least one up leaving that ceremony.
“And it showed. Next day we lost 6½ to 1½, and it was almost as good as over.
“But I also remember that at The Belfry in 2002 I felt Sam (Torrance) put us one up.
“It’s so important for the team to have a huge respect for the captain leaving that ceremony.
“It’s a major part of my career. I’ve been at this for 25 years and this for my players is the most vital four or five minutes that I have.
“I will practise, I will get this right. I will have them standing up and leaving that ceremony feeling that we are going to win this Ryder Cup. That’s all I can do.”
Harrington, Montgomerie’s former partner and now his most contentious wild card pick, does not minimise the role of the captain.
He was referring, though, not so much to what they say as what they do when he commented: “I think the match is going to be close enough that the captain’s decisions are going to be vital for the winning team.
“That’s what is going to separate them.”
On his “loser’s speech” – a phrase he shies away from – Montgomerie said: “I’ve had to prepare a runner-up speech, or the non-winning speech. If the result doesn’t go our way I think it’s very important to prepare.
“But hopefully nobody will ever hear that speech.
“Sometimes in these Ryder Cups it’s the toss of a coin and I really do feel it will fall in our favour.
“To win this Ryder Cup in these economic times is very important for European golf from a marketing sense and a media sense and from a playing sense.
“I am convinced that if they play to their potential they should win and it’s my job to get them to do that.
“I don’t know if I can do it, but I’ve been learning from the six captains I played under, I’ve got four great vice-captains (Paul McGinley, Thomas Bjorn, Darren Clarke and Sergio Garcia) and the team is motivated like never before.
“Having lost the Ryder Cup in 2008 it’s our job now to win it back and it’s 17 of us that are going to.”
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