Montys Mind on Ryder Cup

By Associated PressAugust 11, 2004, 4:00 pm
04 PGA ChampionshipHAVEN, Wis. -- Colin Montgomerie has always been more at ease playing for the flag than for fortune, so its no surprise his mind is more on the Ryder Cup than in shaking his stigma as the worlds greatest golfer never to win a major.
Montgomerie, 0-for-52 in majors but rock solid in the Ryder Cup, is showing signs of emerging from a slump and land on the European team for the seventh straight time.
Hes got three more chances to move up from 18th in the standings, beginning with the PGA Championship this week at Whistling Straits, and Bernhard Langer said hell consider using one of his two captains picks on him if Montgomerie doesnt jump into the top 10 for an automatic spot.
Monty, who has never had to rely on a captains pick before, isnt lobbying Langer.
My goal over the next three weeks is to actually qualify for the team, something that Ive been very proud of doing the last six occasions, Montgomerie said. And I hope to make that seven to put him in an easier position.
It didnt look possible a few months ago, when the 41-year-old Scot was going through a divorce from his wife of 14 years made even more painful by the attention British tabloids paid to it. His game was so lousy he had to win a qualifying playoff just to get in the British Open at Royal Troon, where he learned the game.
Making the Ryder Cup team on his own would be a highlight in the career of the seven-time leader of the European money list who has won 33 times around the world.
I would be very proud of myself, Montgomerie said. Actually, Im quite proud of myself right now. But I would be more proud of myself if I could get three good finishes in the next three tournaments and qualify for the team.
Langer wont have an easy task if that doesnt happen. He has a deep field from which to choose and on Wednesday he mentioned several other possibilities, including Fredrik Jacobsen, Paul McGinley, Jesper Parnevik, Alex Cejka, Luke Donald, Justin Rose and Thomas Bjorn.
Although far removed from his heyday as Europes best golfer, Montgomerie is 16-7-5 in Ryder Cup competition, and Langer considers experience a definite tiebreaker should it be a close call after the NEC Invitational at Firestone and the BMW International Open in Germany.
I think its vital in a tournament like that that youve had experience either in the Ryder Cup or in major championships, just to have been under that kind of pressure, he said. The more the better.
Montgomeries recent recovery also works in his favor.
I have a tendency to pick someone who has played well the last four to six weeks because hes going to be high in confidence, ready to go, Langer said.
At Wentworth earlier this year, Langer said he wanted to see evidence that Montgomerie was working his way through his problems. Hes pleased with what hes seen so far, citing Montgomeries play at the British Open and Scandinavian Masters, in particular.
His form is very steady and hes extremely close to being the Colin we know, Langer said. You know, hes gradually creeping up in the rankings, as well.
Unlike many golfers who havent had much nice to say about Whistling Straits, Montgomerie has found the links-style course very much to his liking. Here, he said, nature tends to play more of a role than technology does, just as it does at the ancient coastal courses back home.
So, I look forward to that in a way because it is more like playing a links course than it is your average, standard, American target golf that we tend to play over here, he said.
The closest Montgomerie has come to winning a major was at the PGA in 1995 at Riviera. He birdied the last three holes to get into a playoff with Steve Elkington, who promptly birdied the first playoff hole. He lost a three-way playoff at Oakmont in the 94 U.S. Open and was tied for the lead at the 97 U.S. Open at Congressional until missing a 6-foot par putt on the 17th.
When it comes to the Ryder Cup, though, few are better than Monty.
Ive always enjoyed match-play situation more than I ever have stroke play, he said. My singles record Im particularly proud of, in not having lost, and I dont like losing very much. Now, whether you say thats patriotism ... or whether its an upbringing or whatever it is, I just have an inbuilt desire not to lose. We all dont like to lose, but me in particular.
Langer would love to have that attitude'and a back-to-form Montgomerie'with him next month at the Ryder Cup at Oakland Hills in Michigan.
A huge difference, Langer said. Colin, when he plays his best can beat anybody. He can be a tower of strength. Hes been around for a long time. Guys look up to him. You know, that would be the best thing that could happen to us.
And also to Montgomerie.
Related Links:
  • Photo Gallery - Whistling Straits
  • Tee Times
  • Full Coverage - PGA Championship
  • Course Tour - Whistling Straits
  • Getty Images

    Watch: Moore does impressions of Tiger, Poults, Bubba

    By Grill Room TeamJuly 16, 2018, 10:36 pm
    Getty Images

    Johnson begins Open week as 12/1 betting favorite

    By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 5:15 pm

    Dustin Johnson heads into The Open as the top-ranked player in the world, and he's also an understandable betting favorite as he looks to win a second career major.

    Johnson has not played since the U.S. Open, where he led by four shots at the halfway point and eventually finished third. He has three top-10 finishes in nine Open appearances, notably a T-2 finish at Royal St. George's in 2011.

    Johnson opened as a 12/1 favorite when the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook first published odds for Carnoustie after the U.S. Open, and he remains at that number with the first round just three days away.

    Here's a look at the latest odds on some of the other top contenders, according to the Westgate:

    12/1: Dustin Johnson

    16/1: Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose

    20/1: Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm

    25/1: Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Tiger Woods

    30/1: Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari, Paul Casey, Alex Noren, Patrick Reed

    40/1: Hideki Matsuyama, Marc Leishman, Branden Grace, Tyrrell Hatton

    50/1: Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Matthew Fitzpatrick

    60/1: Russell Knox, Louis Oosthuizen, Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau, Zach Johnson, Tony Finau, Bubba Watson

    80/1: Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Thomas Pieters, Xander Schauffele

    100/1: Shane Lowry, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, Ryan Fox, Thorbjorn Olesen

    Getty Images

    Woods needs top-10 at Open to qualify for WGC

    By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 4:34 pm

    If Tiger Woods is going to qualify for the final WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club, he'll need to do something he hasn't done in five years this week at The Open.

    Woods has won eight times at Firestone, including his most recent PGA Tour victory in 2013, and has openly stated that he would like to qualify for the no-cut event in Akron before it shifts to Memphis next year. But in order to do so, Woods will need to move into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking after this week's event at Carnoustie.

    Woods is currently ranked No. 71 in the world, down two spots from last week, and based on projections it means that he'll need to finish no worse than a tie for eighth to have a chance of cracking the top 50. Woods' last top-10 finish at a major came at the 2013 Open at Muirfield, where he tied for sixth.

    Updated Official World Golf Ranking

    There are actually two OWGR cutoffs for the Bridgestone, July 23 and July 30. That means that Woods could theoretically still add a start at next week's RBC Canadian Open to chase a spot in the top 50, but he has said on multiple occasions that this week will be his last start of the month. The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational will be played Aug. 2-5.

    There wasn't much movement in the world rankings last week, with the top 10 staying the same heading into the season's third major. Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm. Defending Open champ Jordan Spieth is ranked sixth, with Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Tommy Fleetwood rounding out the top 10.

    Despite taking the week off, Sweden's Alex Noren moved up three spots from No. 14 to No. 11, passing Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Paul Casey.

    John Deere Classic champ Michael Kim went from No. 473 to No. 215 in the latest rankings, while South African Brandon Stone jumped from 371st to 110th with his win at the Scottish Open.

    Getty Images

    Spieth takes familiar break ahead of Open defense

    By Rex HoggardJuly 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – As his title chances seemed to be slipping away during the final round of last year’s Open Championship, Jordan Spieth’s caddie took a moment to remind him who he was.

    Following a bogey at No. 13, Michael Greller referenced a recent vacation he’d taken to Mexico where he’d spent time with Michael Phelps and Michael Jordan and why he deserved to be among that group of singular athletes.

    Spieth, who won last year’s Open, decided to continue the tradition, spending time in Cabo again before this week’s championship.

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    “I kind of went through the same schedule,” Spieth said on Monday at Carnoustie. “It was nice to have a little vacation.”

    Spieth hasn’t played since the Travelers Championship; instead he attended the Special Olympics USA Games earlier this month in Seattle with his sister. It was Spieth’s first time back to the Pacific Northwest since he won the 2015 U.S. Open.

    “I went out to Chambers Bay with [Greller],” Spieth said. “We kind of walked down the 18th hole. It was cool reliving those memories.”

    But most of all Spieth said he needed a break after a particularly tough season.

    “I had the itch to get back to it after a couple weeks of not really working,” he said. “It was nice to kind of have that itch to get back.”