Friday the Day That Monty Clinched Ryder

By George WhiteAugust 27, 2004, 4:00 pm
04 Ryder CupWell, Jiminy Christmas, look who showed up just in the nick of time at the BMW Open! Colin Montgomerie, thats who. And it looks like the events of his first two rounds at the tournament in Germany has sealed for him a wild-card pick for the Ryder Cup.
 
Actually, Bernhard Langer has until the tournament ends Sunday to announce his two selections (Watch Langer's picks Live on TGC Sunday following the BMW In'tl Open), and Herr Langer has been awfully secretive as to his eventual selections. But Montgomeries opening-round 67 makes it hard to overlook the six-time Ryder Cup veteran. I dont usually go by past records for current events, but Monty has gone 16-7-5 in 28 matches against the Yanks, and 4-0-2 in singles, and you just cant ignore excellence like that. Particularly with a young team such as Europe is shaping up to be.
 
Would Langer have picked Montgomerie prior to this week? Its problematic. He finished T4 in a Euro event the end of July, but other than that, his record the past three months or so has been rather pedestrian nothing else in the top 20, and a missed cut at the Smurfit European Open. He wasnt eligible for the U.S. Open or the PGA Championship. He finished T25 in the British Open. In the Volvo PGA ' another European Tour biggie ' he could do no better than a tie for 47th.
 
But if Langer was waiting to see a spark from Monty, something that plainly said, Pick me! the opening round of 67 in this weeks BMW might have been it.
 
It doesn't hurt, does it? It doesn't hurt, said Montgomerie when the first round was over.
 
If I went out there and shot 78 today, you know, what's happening here? Of course it doesn't hurt. Of course there's a bit of pressure on me. Of course there has to be.
 
Montgomerie has been going through a divorce this year, which could explain his lackluster results. If Im Langer, thats what I have to be thinking. Or at least, thats what I want to believe. If youre a European, thats reason enough to believe theres got to be something better.
 
Even more imposing than the first-round 67, though, is the fact that Montgomerie is the unanimous wild-card choice for the entire Euro team. That is very difficult to argue with. Ignore it, and you risk a team mindset that is defeatist going in. Pick Monty, and your team members immediately rally around him.
 
Joakim Haeggman, though, is still not certain. Personally, he would pick Montgomerie. Hes not sure about Langer, though. He figures Langer had his mind just about made up before this week.
 
It is not like a football coach who selects his team three hours before play, said Haegmann. He has got his mind sorted out and pretty much knows. He will know who he wants on the team and who he doesnt want on the team.
 
I mean, guys like (Frederik) Jacobson and (Luke) Donald wouldnt be over here if they didnt think they had a chance to make the team, and I am sure he would like to see some form from Colin as well. Everyone is saying that Colin is on the team, but he has got to show some kind of form as well. So it was nice to see him playing well today.'
 
And Monty's opening round of 5-under just about convinced Haeggman, too.
 
If your name is Colin Montgomerie with seven Order of Merits and X number of Ryder Cups and a great record in the Ryder Cup, all you need to do is to show people you can still play the game and he would be a great pick for a team like that. Anybody can understand that.
 
Alex Cejka thinks so, too ' in case Langer is looking for any help.
 
I think if I would be in his place, I think Monty is definitely (in), he said. He's playing very well this year. He won already. He's an experienced guy. He played the Ryder Cup many times.
 
And Sergio Garcia says that unquestionably Montgomerie can help.
 
There's no doubt that Monty is a guy with a lot of experience. He's played on many Ryder Cups. He's done very well in them. So that's a huge advantage for him going into Bernhard's thoughts, Garcia believes.

But Garcia realizes that several other players have to be considered, too, and that the events of Saturday are extremely important. He knows, like everyone, that even a Montgomerie win this week would not vault him into the position of an automatic selection. Monty has to be Langers guy ' and the feeling from this corner is he is ' or else he will be watching the events in Detroit from the sidelines.
 
You know, you can't take anything from the other guys who have been trying to qualify, too, said Sergio. My personal feeling is that, yeah, Monty is kind of like a step forward from some of the other guys. But I'm not the one choosing. So, we'll see what Bernhard is just going to do whatever he thinks is best for the team, and whatever he does, we'll all take it as the best thing.
 
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Related links:
  • U.S. and European Ryder Cup Points List

  • Full Coverage - 35th Ryder Cup
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    Langer not playing to pass Irwin, but he just might

    By Tim RosaforteJanuary 16, 2018, 1:40 pm

    Bernhard Langer goes back out on tour this week to chase down more than Hale Irwin’s PGA Tour Champions record of 45 career victories. His chase is against himself.

    “I’m not playing to beat Hale Irwin’s record,” Langer told me before heading to Hawaii to defend his title at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai. “I play golf to play the best I can, to be a good role model, and to enjoy a few more years that are left.”

    Langer turned 60 on Aug. 27 and was presented a massage chair by his family as a birthday gift. Instead of reclining (which he does to watch golf and football), he won three more times to close out a seven-win campaign that included three major championships. A year prior, coming off a four-victory season, Langer told me after winning his fourth Charles Schwab Cup that surpassing Irwin’s record was possible but not probable. With 36 career victories and 11 in his last two years, he has changed his tone to making up the nine-tournament difference as “probable.”

    “If I could continue a few more years on that ratio, I could get close or pass him,” Langer told me from his home in Boca Raton, Fla. “It will get harder. I’m 60 now. It’s a big challenge but I don’t shy away from challenges.”


    Bernhard Langer, Hale Irwin at the 1991 Ryder Cup (Getty Images)


    Langer spent his off-season playing the PNC Father/Son, taking his family on a ski vacation at Big Sky in Yellowstone, Montana, and to New York for New Year’s. He ranks himself as a scratch skier, having skied since he was four years old in Germany. The risk of injury is worth it, considering how much he loves “the scenery, the gravity and the speed.”

    Since returning from New York, Langer has immersed himself into preparing for the 2018 season. Swing coach Willy Hoffman, who he has worked with since his boyhood days as an as assistant pro in Germany, flew to Florida for their 43rd year of training.

    “He’s a straight shooter,” Hoffman told me. “He says, 'Willy, every hour is an hour off my life and we have 24 hours every day.'"

    As for Irwin, they have maintained a respectful relationship that goes back to their deciding singles match in the 1991 Ryder Cup. Last year they were brought back to Kiawah Island for a corporate appearance where they reminisced and shared the thought that nobody should ever have to bear what Langer went through, missing a 6-footer on the 18th green. That was 27 years ago. Both are in the Hall of Fame.

    "I enjoy hanging out with Hale," Langer says.

    Langer’s chase of Irwin’s record is not going to change their legacies. As Hoffman pointed out, “Yes, (Bernhard) is a rich man compared to his younger days. He had no money, no nothing. But today you don’t feel a difference when you talk to him. He’s always on the ground.”

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    McIlroy: Ryder Cup won't be as easy as USA thinks

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 16, 2018, 1:18 pm

    The Americans have won their past two international team competitions by a combined score of 38-22, but Rory McIlroy isn’t expecting another pushover at the Ryder Cup in September.

    McIlroy admitted that the U.S. team will be strong, and that its core of young players (including Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler) will be a force for the next decade. But he told reporters Tuesday at the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship that course setup will play a significant role.

    “If you look at Hazeltine and how they set the course up – big, wide fairways, no rough, pins in the middle of greens – it wasn’t set up for the way the Europeans like to play,” McIlroy said, referring to the Americans’ 17-11 victory in 2016. “I think Paris will be a completely different kettle of fish, so different.”

    At every Ryder Cup, the home team has the final say on course setup. Justin Rose was the most outspoken about the setup at Hazeltine, saying afterward that it was “incredibly weak” and had a “pro-am feel.” 

    And so this year’s French Open figures to be a popular stop for European Tour players – it’s being held once again at Le Golf National, site of the matches in September. Tommy Fleetwood won last year’s event at 12 under.

    “I’m confident,” McIlroy said. “Everything being all well and good, I’ll be on that team and I feel like we’ll have a really good chance.

    “The Americans have obviously been buoyant about their chances, but it’s never as easy as that. The Ryder Cup is always close. It always comes down to a few key moments, and it will be no different in Paris. I think we’ll have a great team and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.” 

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    Floodlights may be used at Dubai Desert Classic

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 16, 2018, 12:44 pm

    No round at next week’s Dubai Desert Classic will be suspended because of darkness.

    Tournament officials have installed state-of-the-art floodlighting around the ninth and 18th greens to ensure that all 132 players can finish their round.

    With the event being moved up a week in the schedule, the European Tour was initially concerned about the amount of daylight and trimmed the field to 126 players. Playing under the lights fixed that dilemma.

    “This is a wonderful idea and fits perfectly with our desire to bring innovation to our sport,” European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley said. “No professional golfer ever wants to come back the following morning to complete a round due to lack of daylight, and this intervention, should it be required, will rule out that necessity.”

    Next week’s headliners include Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia and Henrik Stenson. 

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    Ortiz takes Web.com Tour clubhouse lead in Bahamas

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:19 am

    Former Web.com Tour Player of the Year Carlos Ortiz shot a bogey-free, 4-under-par 68 Monday to take the clubhouse lead in The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay.

    Four other players - Lee McCoy, Brandon Matthews, Sung Jae Im and Mark Anderson - were still on the course and tied with Ortiz at 6-under 210 when third-round play was suspended by darkness at 5:32 p.m. local time. It is scheduled to resume at 7:15 a.m. Tuesday.

    Ortiz, a 26-year-old from Guadalajara, Mexico, is in search of his fourth Web.com Tour victory. In 2014, the former University of North Texas standout earned a three-win promotion on his way to being voted Web.com Tour Player of the Year.

    McCoy, a 23-year-old from Dunedin, Fla., is looking to become the first player to earn medalist honors at Q-School and then win the opening event of the season.