SEVILLE, Spain – Europe captain Colin Montgomerie identified Thomas Bjorn, Paul McGinley and Jose Maria Olazabal as his ideal choices to be vice captains for the Ryder Cup.
That’s assuming none of them qualify to play.
Montgomerie said Wednesday that he wants Bjorn and McGinley, who have competed in a combined five Ryder Cups, to focus on perhaps making the team over the next couple of months.
“The Americans are having four vice captains. I shall have three, maybe four,” Montgomerie said at the Real Club de Golf in Seville on the eve of the Spanish Open. “But I will not be naming them until after The Open at St. Andrews in July because, with Bjorn and McGinley, I want them to have every chance to make the team as players again.
“I don’t want the situation that Paul had two years ago where he resigned as Nick Faldo’s vice captain because he wanted the chance to play his way into the team. So I am going to give them the chance through The Open, because both Thomas and Paul are talented enough to go and win the British Open.”
Olazabal lost out to Montgomerie about 15 months ago for the captain’s job against the United States at Celtic Manor in Wales. Immediately after, the Spaniard said he did not want to be a vice captain again after assisting Nick Faldo at Valhalla in 2008 because he feels “they don’t make decisions.”
Montgomerie believes a vice captain should be playing regularly on the European Tour to be in touch with potential team members. Olazabal has not been playing because of acute rheumatism, although that does not appear to have deterred Montgomerie.
“With his experience and from what I heard from the players at Valhalla in 2008 and how good he was there, he would be invaluable for our team,” Montgomerie said.
Over the next four days in Spain, Montgomerie intends to concentrate on his own game, having failed to finish higher than 45th in any European Tour event this year.
“One of my goals is to win this year before the Ryder Cup, so that I will have the respect of my players,” he said. “But I do admit that the work that I have put into the Cup has been a 10 percent distraction from my golf.”