Tiger will add prestige – Monty
Colin Montgomerie believes Tiger Woods’ presence will add prestige to a Europe Ryder Cup win next year..
Colin Montgomerie believes Tiger Woods’ presence in the US team will add greater prestige to a European Ryder Cup win at Celtic Manor next year.
Woods, who missed the USA’s comprehensive 2008 victory in Kentucky after undergoing knee surgery, is critical about American hopes of retaining the trophy.
Woods, winner of 14 Majors, displayed ominous form during the weekend’s Presidents Cup matches in San Francisco.
He forged a prodigious partnership with Steve Stricker, posting a perfect five-from-five points return as the USA toppled an International team 19½-14½.
The Americans have not tasted Ryder Cup success on British or Irish soil for 16 years.
But Europe captain Montgomerie knows Woods could potentially have a bigger say than any other player towards ending that sequence when the 38th Ryder Cup is contested in Wales from October 1-3 next year.
“It will be difficult enough to try to regain the Ryder Cup without Tiger Woods, never mind if he is back to his top form and winning five points out of five,” said Montgomerie.
“It makes our job even tougher, so we have to counteract that by playing as well as we can against him and also the other 11 players on that team.
“But I think it makes it a better win if we can regain the Ryder Cup with Tiger Woods in the opposition.”
Montgomerie, a veteran of eight Cup campaigns, hopes that as many of his prospective team will familiarise themselves with Celtic Manor by playing in next summer’s Wales Open.
He will email players to that effect – encouraging them to enter the Wales Open, an event that several of his star names will not have featured in before.
“It goes without saying that in the Wales Open, if I have one of my European potentials or probables or possibles – or whatever you call them
to win by a few shots here (Celtic Manor) does them no harm at all,” he added.
Montgomerie also revealed he would like Welsh representation – either in his team or among the all-important support staff.
“If I don’t have a Welsh representative on the course playing, I would like to have some sort of Welsh help in the background,” he said.
“I think it is good for everybody; the fact that, what, 65-70% of the spectators here will be Welsh. It’s only right that I would encourage some of the backroom staff, if you like, to be of that nationality.”
Europe’s crushing 16½-11½ defeat in America last year meant an uneasy ride for captain Nick Faldo, prompting claims that he did not enjoy the same rapport with his players as previous European captains like Ian Woosnam and Bernhard Langer.
Montgomerie, though, believes there will be no issues next year.
“I think one of the reasons I was asked to become Ryder Cup captain was because I was still in a playing capacity,” he added.
“Nick had not played for a number of years really fully on the tour, and was over in the States in a commentating position and I think found it more difficult, therefore to communicate with the team on a day-to-day basis than I would be able to do playing with the team around.
“I am off tomorrow morning to Portugal to play in the Portuguese Masters, and that is another area where I will be looking at potential players that will be here in a year’s time that Nick didn’t have the advantage of doing.”
Montgomerie and his USA counterpart Corey Pavin linked up at Celtic Manor today – playing a nine-hole challenge match in the company of radio presenter Chris Evans, a 15-handicapper, and opera star Bryn Terfel, who plays off 12.
Pavin, who flew in from San Francisco and heads to Dallas tomorrow, was greeted by glorious weather more suited to mid-summer than early autumn.
Watched by a gallery of around 200 invited guests, sponsors and media – Ruud Gullit and Gareth Edwards were among the onlookers – the quartet played holes one to five, 14, 16, 17 and 18 on the specific Ryder Cup-designed Twenty Ten Course.
“The course was in great condition,” said Montgomerie, following a competitive encounter that started with Terfel singing ‘We’ll keep a welcome’ on the first tee, and ended all-square.
“It is a driver’s course, this. If you get out of position on the tee, then you are playing defensive for your second shots.
“There is a lot of water around and a lot of tight pin positions.
“If you are out of position off the tee, you will find it very difficult to be as aggressive as you want to be – because it’s a matchplay tournament. It goes back to driving the ball straight.”
Pavin added: “It’s a very straightforward golf course – difficult, but it is right in front of you. I think it is a very fair test of golf – there are no tricks out there.
“I thought the greens were fantastic – and I am sure a year from now they are going to be beautiful.”
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