Montgomerie was speaking
at the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles where the team will be finalised a year
hence and the only clue he was giving was that it included several rookies.
The accompanying list gives an idea of what the team might be, and is taken purely from the world rankings, listing the top 12 Europeans from Paul Casey at No.3 down to Soren Kjeldsen at No.33. It excludes players like the big-hitting Spaniard Alvaro Quiros, of whom Montgomerie is a fan, and obvious contenders like Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell and Justin Rose of England who are currently down the pecking order. They need not fear. At this stage it is just a game and for all we know they could be on the captain’s mind.
“It will be interesting to see how close the team come out to that particular list,” said
Montgomerie. “There are a few rookies but, hey, that’s
the team as it stands right now. It’s amazing how a year is a long time in any sport, in any life.
“It’s a great opportunity for everybody to start from scratch next week in Switzerland
and make that team. I can speak
from experience and say it’s a fantastic atmosphere. It’s our Olympic Games.”
Montgomerie declined to say whether any Scots were on his secret list, but as things stand it is unlikely. The top Scot in the world rankings at No.139 is Gary Orr, and he is 38th European. By that measure he would only be the
No.2 player in a notional European Ryder Cup fourth-choice team.
Of course, five players
will come off a European points list and any Scot who can win two or three times in Europe in the next 12 months could make it to the biennial showdown at Celtic Manor in Wales.
“Believe it or not I’d like a Welsh involvement as well,” Montgomerie continued.
“Forgetting Scotland for a moment, I’m European now for the next year-and-a-half and it doesn’t matter to me where
the points come from. We need
14.5 points and I don’t mind if they all come from Holland.”
That being the case, Robert-
Jan Derksen, currently the leading Dutch player at world No.173, can be measured up without delay for his Ryder Cup wardrobe.
Another hat Montgomerie wears is chairman of this week’s £1.4m tournament which is devoid of a host of potential Ryder Cup players who are either taking a week off or playing in the The Barclays
tournament in New Jersey, the first event of the FedEx Cup play-offs.
England’s Oliver Wilson, the world No.44, is the highest ranked player at Gleneagles,
but Montgomerie assured that next year, when it is the final Ryder Cup counting event, will be different. “This will become one of, if not the strongest event field-wise on the European schedule next year,” he said.
Montgomerie, who has himself fallen out of the world’s top 200, is low on confidence. In the past he would have been talking about winning, but yesterday as one of 22 Scots in the field he said it would
be a big step forward just to make the top 10.