In a column penned Wednesday for The Telgraph (UK), Colin Montgomerie opined that if Tiger Woods is to be part of a winning Ryder Cup team for the first time this century, then “it is time for Woods to be entrusted to take a young player under his wing.”
Forty-two-year-old Phil Mickelson, who was just 3-12-3 in his last four Ryder Cups entering last week’s matches at Medinah, seemed rejuvenated by the emotional play of rookie Keegan Bradley. The duo went 3-0 together in team play, and their chemistry was so apparent, captain Davis Love III drew criticism for sitting them in Saturday afternoon fourballs.
Monty, the European team’s winning captain in 2010, thinks that Woods, 36, could use a similarly youthful, exuberant partner in the biennial matches – even suggesting a player such as Rickie Fowler. With partner Steve Stricker, Woods went 0-3 in team play at Medinah.
“The only time America have won this century is when Woods has been injured (in 2008 at Valhalla),” he wrote. “Woods has a big losing individual record. These are the facts and you can’t hide from them. It is a dilemma for the next captain. But Mickelson’s example shows it can be addressed.
“My god, if someone had told you beforehand that Woods would score half-a-point out of four and that his side would lose by the narrowest margin, you wouldn’t have believed it.
“Tiger’s negative effect on the American team did amaze me, because I thought the new Tiger would be a huge benefit to his team. Well, he was in one sense. His aura and intimidating effect is gone in the team-room. The youngsters weren’t overawed; they were prepared to shine for themselves whatever Tiger’s results. That was great for Davis Love. The U.S. unearthed a few superstars.”
Now, the attention turns to Gleneagles in Scotland, which will host the Ryder Cup in 2014.
“I keep being asked by people if I’ll return as captain for Scotland’s first Ryder Cup in 41 years,” he wrote. “My answer is always the same – ‘I’ll do it if I was asked.’ But I won’t be asked. It’s a one-shot gig, and we’ve got some great candidates: Paul McGinley, Darren Clarke, Thomas Bjorn. That’s where the next captain is coming from. Whoever it is will feel very honored.”