Dont you just know the tabloids are going to have a field day with this? Imagine the headlines:
Prince of Whales
Ready, Aim, Doubtfire.
Colin Montgomerie, newly-anointed as Europes next Ryder Cup captain has, for years, been a target for every cheapshot artist in and around the game of golf. And to be fair, even to the cheapshotters, the voluble Montgomerie often brings much of this upon himself.
You may not like the stuffy Scot because of the ill-tempered manner in which he handles bad days. He has never won a major championship, or any event, for that matter on the U.S. PGA Tour. Fact is, Montgomerie doesnt have a whole lot of friends on the other side of the pond either.
Until, that is, it comes to the Ryder Cup, an event that biennially transforms him from a goof to a god in the eyes of Europe.
Montys record in eight Ryder Cups (only three of which the Euros lost) is a sparkling 20-9-7. His record in Ryder Cup singles, 6-0-2, speaks for itself. Loudly.
He is an absolute warrior and a totally different person during Ryder Cup weeks and that is why, at the still contemporary age of 45, he is the right pick for the job.
Jose Maria Olazabal, an almost certain future captain, had his chances to show Europes committee he wanted to captain Europe at Celtic Manor in Wales in 2010. But he never fully weighed in, choosing instead to try playing his way onto the team.
Montgomerie, who won a record seven straight Order of Merits not all that long ago, probably would have preferred to wait until the Ryder Cup comes to Gleneagles in his native land of Scotland in 2014. But European officials didnt like the age difference between their last pick, Nick Faldo, and the players on a team that got thrashed by the U.S. last fall in Kentucky. So the time was now.
Interestingly enough, Montgomerie doesnt have the taint of Valhalla on him. He and Faldo bickered publicly with each other much of 2008 over whether Montgomerie deserved to be a captains pick. Monty did not get the nod.
Now he will run the next big show for the Euros, to whom the Ryder Cup has always meant more to than most Americans. And its best that he will be captaining in Europe.
Montgomerie, you see, has rabbit ears. American fans would have had a field day with him, riding around in a cart at Valhalla. The next Ryder Cup match in the U.S. will be at Medinah near Chicago in 2012. Olazabal, a diplomat and a two-time Masters winner, is the perfect pick for Europe there. The fans will respect him. Everybody does.
So now its Monty vs. Corey (Pavin) late next year. Both teams, actually, have made the proper choices. For the Euros, Sandy Lyle was out of touch; Ian Woosnam had gotten his turn. Darren Clarke, I predict, will be the man for the job in 2014.
Right now its the friendly-on-his-own-terms Monty, the best Wednesday quote in golf. He is a man for whom the Ryder Cup captaincy will be every bit as much a personal crusade as it was for the now-recovering Seve Ballesteros in 1997 when Europe crushed the Yanks in Spain.
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