Thursday, January 22, 2009

Bad news for Colin Montgomerie

Now Olazabal says he DOES want to

be Ryder Cup captain in 2010!

By John Hopkins, Golf Correspondent
Jose Maria Olazabal has, after all, decided that he would like to have a crack at captaining Europe in the Ryder Cup to be held at Celtic Manor, Newport, Wales, in September 2010.
This will mean that Colin Montgomerie, who was expected to be confirmed as the next captain by the Tournament Committee at a meeting in Dubai on January 28, will have a rival for that job and that the Tournament Committee will have to decide that night between the Scot and the Spaniard.
Olazabal's decision to throw his hat into the ring is slightly surprising, considering that he had said he would like to try and play his way into the team.
"He is available," Sergio Gomez, Olazabal's manager, said. "If he is offered the job he will say 'Yes'. We know it is a matter of two and there are factors favouring Jose Maria and factors favouring Monty."
Olazabal pulled out of this week's event in Qatar because of rheumatism but does plan to play in the Dubai Desert Classic, starting next Thursday, the day after the Tournament Committee meeting.
"He had a small problem with his wrists and forearms and it was painful when gripping the club, but not too severe and he told me yesterday to confirm the flights," Gomez said. "But the chances of him making the team are not what he wanted or expected, so he made up his mind that he would accept the captaincy if it was offered."
Either Montgomerie or Olazabal would be an excellent captain for Europe at the first Ryder Cup to be held in Wales. In September 2010 Montgomerie will be 47 and Olazabal 44, so both are comfortably within the correct age range and both would be in touch with current players, which was felt to be a weakness of Nick Faldo, the last captain of Europe, at Valhalla, Louisville, last September.
Montgomerie and Olazabal are astute men, unlikely to allow anything to pass them by. In fact, the only concern about Olazabal's decision to stand for the captaincy in 2010 is that he is risking upsetting the logical order of captains of Europe.
At a Tournament Committee meeting in Abu Dhabi on January 13 it was agreed that as Montgomerie would be too old at Gleneagles in 2014, when he will be 51, and when he was expected to lead his continent, he was persuaded to stand for the job next year.
Judging by the jovial mood he was in during the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship last week, he clearly felt he had as good as got the job.
At this meeting and later it was thought, if not decided, that Olazabal would be a more suitable captain for Europe in the US in 2012. That still remains the case. While both Olazabal and Montgomerie would do a good job in Wales in 2010, only Olazabal could be considered for the more hostile environment of Medinah, outside Chicago, in 2012.
If next Wednesday's meeting turns sticky, it might be necessary to remind Olazabal that his continent needs him - but not until 2012.



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