Tuesday 24 October 2017

Montgomerie open to Ryder Cup return despite ‘invasion of privacy’

Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie. Photo: Getty Images
Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie. Photo: Getty Images

Mark Garrod

COLIN Montgomerie is prepared to come back as Ryder Cup captain even though he considers elements of the job as "an invasion of privacy".

Tomorrow's tournament committee meeting in Abu Dhabi will discuss who takes over from Jose Maria Olazabal and Dubliner Paul McGinley, an assistant in the last two matches, is favourite now that Darren Clarke has stated his desire to regain a place in the team.

But the possibility of Montgomerie, who led the side to victory at Celtic Manor in 2010, being turned to again on home soil remains after Clarke talked about the need for a big character to oppose American choice Tom Watson.

"Obviously, it would be a dream come true if I could be seen to be captain at home in Scotland," Montgomerie said before heading from South Africa to the Middle East.

"It will be a great honour. It seemed to be between Darren and Paul and now my name seems to be mentioned an awful lot, so we will see."

As for the demands of the job the eight-time European number one added: "It's a lot of time, a lot of pressure on family and you as a individual.

"The scrutiny when it's at home is a lot more. It's an invasion of your privacy and life."

Montgomerie has spoken to Clarke since he declared last Friday that now might not be the time for him and that the 2016 match in America might have less of an impact on his career.

"I can fully understand where Darren is coming from, especially given the exemptions he still has into the majors (thanks to his 2011 Open win) as you want to use them when you can still play.

"Because we're close friends he knows it took a year and a half out of my career.

"If you come back after a year and a half out you might not be able to use those exemptions to the same potential.

"I didn't think it would affect my golf the way it did - I've told him that. I was looking at leaderboards for other names and not my own.

"I was hoping that some were doing well as opposed to concentrating on my own game.

"And practice went out of the window - there's no time. It's a full-time commitment if you want to do it properly."

McGinley cannot match the achievements or presence of Montgomerie - his highlight was holing the winning putt at The Belfry in 2002 - but he did enough as a vice-captain and as Britain and Ireland's Seve Trophy captain to indicate he has the ability to lead Europe.

In the two events he has never lost as a player, assistant or captain - and with Rory McIlroy among his supporters it will be a big surprise if Montgomerie's name is announced once more.

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