Why Monty has to be smiling
Colin Montgomerie’s smile must grow wider by the day when the Ryder Cup captain glances at the world rankings.
Colin Montgomerie’s smile must grow wider by the day when the Ryder Cup captain glances at the world rankings where Europe again strengthened its position following Martin Kaymer’s hard-fought victory in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.
The 24-year-old German birdied the 18th to hold off Ian Poulter and win a second Abu Dhabi Golf Championship title to propel himself to sixth in the world just behind European number one Lee Westwood.
Poulter reached a career high 10th after seeing victory slip away following a wayward tee shot on the final hole, while Rory McIlroy saw himself bumped just outside of the top 10 following Kaymer’s one stroke win – despite posting an eighth top-10 finish in his last nine events with a third place in Abu Dhabi.
“This is Martin’s fifth win and he’s a great player,” said McIlroy, who left a final round revival too late to miss out by two strokes.
“I’m sure I’ll have a lot of battles with him, not just this year, but also in the future and he’ll be a great addition to the Ryder Cup team.”
Europe claim nine of the places inside the world’s top 20 with the USA, led by self-exiled world number one Tiger Woods, boasting seven.
Kaymer and world number 11 McIlroy are virtual certainties to line up as debutants at Celtic Manor in October, while Poulter is already set to easily qualify after performing so well as a controversial captain’s pick in the defeat at Valhalla.
After posting a fifth win, Kaymer is the latest player to make his move after Poulter’s first win in two years in Singapore at the end of last year pushed him to the brink of the top 10.
Westwood stormed into the top five by rounding off a brilliant 2009 by being named Europe’s number one, while McIlroy’s Westwood-like consistency has seen the 20-year-old rise through the rankings with ease despite boasting only one win in Dubai last year.
“If you look at the world ranking positions of the guys in the top 50 in Europe, I think we are pushing a lot of weight. It bodes well hopefully for the Ryder Cup,” said Poulter.
“Some of the rookies can make the side and give Colin less of a headache.”
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