• Text size      
  • Send this article to a friend
  • Print this article

Montgomerie: A runner for Ryder?

Colin Montgomerie is gearing up to make a spectacular return to the Ryder Cup in 2014 by being named Europe's captain at next Tuesday's committee vote in Abu Dhabi.

There was no hiding Montgomerie's glee on the eve of the Volvo Champions event in Durban at the thought of being asked to lead Europe again and this time in his own backyard in Perthshire.

The Tournament Players Committee, down to 13 in the absence of the injured Miguel Angel Jimenez and Sweden's Robert Karlsson, will meet in the UAE capital to appoint a successor to Jose Maria Olazabal, who conjured up an improbable victory at Medina in October.

Thomas Bjorn, as committee chairman, revealed the candidates for the role are Paul McGinley and Darren Clarke yet he gave a strong indication yesterday that Montgomerie, winning captain at Celtic Manor in 2010, is also in the running.

"I know how important our meeting next week will be, not only for the Tour and the media, but all the people in Scotland particularly," said Bjorn. "So if we discuss the captaincy and we come to an agreement we will have to announce that night. But as a committee voting for a new European captain I don't see we have to react to Tom Watson being appointed US captain as Europe's record in past years is pretty impressive."

Padraig Harrington claimed last week that Montgomerie would be "mad" to risk his superb Ryder Cup career on losing to Tom Watson's team, but the 49-year old Scot is hearing none of it.

"As I've said before and, if asked, at the meeting next Tuesday to do the job again I would accept. Of course, I would," said Montgomerie.

"I can understand certain players like Padraig [Harrington]; where they are coming from because, in life, if I was asked and if I didn't accept, people would think there must be a reason why a player doesn't accept and that's [because] he doesn't want to be seen as a loser. Well, the word 'loser' is a word, in my career, that I have never, ever thought about. "So I am excited and honoured and very flattered really that my name's been put in the frame and that possibly I'll be nominated. "I've never canvassed, as I didn't last time. I've not spoken to anybody about this.

"Darren Clarke has made comments regarding matching Watson with a similar like European presence and this meeting will surely contain the words 'Tom Watson' in our discussion whereas I don't think at the last two Corey Pavin and Davis Love were mentioned.

"Darren seems to think we need to change things. We will see. I am just a voice on the committee and I will say my bit accordingly. I've always said that we need the best man for the job, whoever that is."

If the role has to go to a vote Bjorn as chairman abstains and it could mean McGinley, Clarke and Monty are asked to leave the room next Tuesday, leaving eight players to vote on Olazabal's successor.

Montgomerie is among four Scots in the limited 33-player no-cut field and joined by Paul Lawrie, Richie Ramsay and recent Nelson Mandela Championship winner, Scott Jamieson who won his maiden Tour title on the nearby Royal Durban layout.

He heads into a new season staring at a milestone in his career – he turns 50 just days before making his seniors debut in the British Open at Royal Birkdale. He will also become eligible to compete on the lucrative US Champions Tour.

"I have the Hall of Fame induction in May, as well. It's nice also be inducted while I am still living and not posthumously like a good many others who have already been inducted," he joked.

Meanwhile, organisers of the Durban event remain anxious with an expected crowd of 70,000 to gather on Saturday in the nearby Kings Park Stadium to celebrate the 101st anniversary of the Africa National Congress (ANC).

A temporary tournament practice range has been set up for players on two football fields beside the home ground of the Super 15 Natal Sharks rugby team.

But it is noise from a road running the length on west side of the Durban Country Club course that will be used by those attending the celebration that is causing concern.

Contextual targeting label: 
Careers and Jobs

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis.
If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.

134621