Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Monty promises different

style of Ryder Cup

captaincy from Faldo

By Mike Aitken
Like the musketeers in Alexandre Dumas' swashbuckling novel, Colin Montgomerie expects Europe's golfers to adopt the clarion call of all-for-one-and-one-for-all at the 2010 Ryder Cup match in Wales.
In order to bring Europe together, the captain has promised to run a more democratic style of leadership in the build-up to Celtic Manor designed to make every member of the European Tour feel part of the campaign to win back Samuel Ryder's trophy from the USA. Once reservations were expressed after Valhalla about Nick Faldo's remote style of captaincy – the Englishman was regarded as out of touch by some players – Monty decided to bind his men to a common purpose.
He plans to keep everyone informed about his plans and will avoid encouraging cliques over the next year and a half."I feel in the past that there has been only a select few told things on a need-to-know basis but I want this to be an open campaign," he explained.
"I will do it through E-mails to the players and talk to them in players' lounges. At lunch, maybe I'll sit at tables I wouldn't otherwise have sat at and say 'listen lads, this is what's happening'.
"I'll be asking them if they have questions and give them an input. There will be no cliques. It will be a Ryder Cup where we're all together. As soon as I know situations, I'll want to let the players know too.
"This will be the first team with a 'young' captain since Seve Ballesteros in 1997, who did it when he was 41. I'll be 47 and I want to feel I'm captaining as a competitive tour player with the nucleus of my side being players I've grown up with and whom I'm slightly older than – the Padraig Harringtons, Lee Westwoods and Darren Clarkes.
"Then there's Paul Casey, Henrik Stenson, Robert Karlsson and Sergio Garcia who are a little younger but are also friends. We will be working together very much as a team and as a Tour."
Having already sounded out Jose Maria Olazabal – the Spaniard will be in Wales either as a vice-captain or a player – Monty sees no need to name his other assistants until much nearer the time. Individuals of the calibre of Paul McGinley and Thomas Bjorn are sure to loom large in the Scot's mind.
However, no decision will be made on that score until the qualifying process has sorted out some of the wheat from the chaff.
"The last time there was an embarrassing situation where Paul McGinley said 'yes' to being a vice-captain and then said 'no' because he wanted to qualify," added Monty.
"There's no need for that. By the time of the Open at St Andrews in 2010, we'll have a good idea of who is going to help. There will be at least another two assistants (as well as Olazabal if he doesn't qualify]."
It seems unlikely the Scot will enlist Sandy Lyle's support in Wales since he doesn't intend to look beyond his own near-contemporaries for assistance.
"It would be fair to assume that my backroom team would be made up from my peers," he added.
Speaking in St Andrews, where he cut a ribbon at Auchterlonies to mark the expansion and refurbishment of one of the Auld Toun's most famous golf shops, Monty was sanguine about the prospect of a Scot challenging for one of the 12 places available in his team.
After making the point that European golf has a deeper pool of resources than ever before – "I'm sitting on a wealth of talent" – the captain didn't minimise the scope of the test facing players from the home of golf.
"Right now you'd have to say that unless one of them – I don't have to mention their names because they know who they are – steps up and really shines in the next year or so then we might find the same scenario as we had at Valhalla, with no Scots involved," he said.
"That would be disappointing."
Though he won't play and captain in Wales, Montgomerie remains ambitious to restores Scottish representation at the most prestigious stroke-play events. There were no Scots at the two most recent World Championship tournaments and only Lyle will fly the flag at Augusta. However, Monty is optimistic a more relaxed approach will bring out the best in him as a player this year.
"I plan to continue being Scotland's flag-carrier, with all due respect to everyone else," he grinned. "I've been looking for ways to relax on a golf course for years and I think I have just found it. Being named Ryder Cup captain has made me much happier on the golf course. The pressure of proving myself has gone."
The full article contains 816 words and appears in The Scotsman newspaper.



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