Announced earlier this week as the newest addition to the World Golf Hall of Fame, Colin Montgomerie is now calling for the top European stars to play more of their golf closer to home.
'It's very important and we have to sit down and address this,' the Scot told the Daily Mail of the recent increase in Europeans playing U.S.-centric schedules. 'It's important for the future of European golf.'
Entering 2013, 10 of the 12 members of Europe's victorious Ryder Cup team at Medinah will be PGA Tour members; only Paul Lawrie and Francesco Molinari will be without full playing privileges in the U.S. For Montgomerie, the perceived defections negatively impact the day-to-day operations of the European Tour.
'Sponsorship is getting harder,' added Montgomerie, a member of the European Tour's tournament committee. 'The first thing a sponsor asks is, 'Who's playing?' He wants as many Ryder Cup players as possible.'
As focus begins to shift to the 2014 Matches at Gleneagles in Scotland, the former Ryder Cup captain also emphasized the importance of familiarizing players with the host course.
'We need to get our team to Gleneagles. We have to have that advantage,' he commented.
Although Gleneagles has hosted a European Tour event each year since 1999, this year only three Ryder Cup players - Lawrie, Molinari and Nicolas Colsaerts - opted to play. The Tour announced this week that the course would not host an event in 2014 ahead of the Ryder Cup.
The situation parallels one Montgomerie experienced as captain of the 2010 squad. According to the report, the Scot was 'disappointed' that only seven of the 12 team members chose to participate in a European Tour stop at Celtic Manor four months before that year's Ryder Cup, where the Europeans ultimately prevailed. According to Montgomerie, though, maximizing course knowledge is of great importance for Ryder Cup success.
'In 1997, our biggest advantage was Valderrama,' he spoke of the Spanish course that hosted the event that year, which the Europeans dominated. 'The Americans had three days to prepare, we had 10 years.'