Thursday 19 April 2018

Rory McIlroy: Don't pick Monty or Langer for Ryder Cup team

Open champion believes 'team dynamic' at risk if pair make Ryder Cup line-up but backs vice-captain roles

Berhard Langer ran away with the Seniors Open but Rory McIlroy doesn't think he should be involved as a Ryder Cup player. Photo: Clint Hughes/Getty Images
Berhard Langer ran away with the Seniors Open but Rory McIlroy doesn't think he should be involved as a Ryder Cup player. Photo: Clint Hughes/Getty Images

Phil Casey

Rory McIlroy has never minced his words when it comes to the Ryder Cup and the newly-crowned Open champion shows no signs of changing now.

In May 2009, the Northern Irishman caused controversy when he labelled the biennial contest an exhibition, saying: "The Ryder Cup is a great spectacle but an exhibition at the end of the day and it should be there to be enjoyed. In the big scheme of things, it's not that important to me."

He admitted ahead of his debut the following September that he regretted those comments and was a swift convert to the event after helping Europe win the trophy at Celtic Manor.

"I would not have said this a year ago, but this is the best event in golf by far," he said after gaining a crucial half point in the singles against former Open champion Stewart Cink.

Now the 25-year-old has weighed in on the debate over whether Bernhard Langer or Colin Montgomerie should be considered as wild cards for Europe's team to defend the trophy at Gleneagles in September.

Montgomerie (51) has won two senior Major titles this year and 56-year-old Langer claimed the Senior British Open by a record 13 shots at Royal Porthcawl recently, but McIlroy is not in favour of having either former captain as a team-mate.

"I think the team dynamic is pretty good at the minute with the mix that we've got and to bring someone in that hasn't spent much time around us mightn't be the best," he said.

"He (Langer) is not playing against the regular guys week in and week out, but he's playing great golf, obviously, and what he's done this year, and Monty as well, has been fantastic. If they were to be involved as vice-captains or something, then I'd be all for that, but I don't think they should be on the team."

It was interesting to hear McIlroy use the "team dynamic" argument rather than strictly a golfing criteria for not considering Langer and Montgomerie, especially when the argument can easily be made that their achievements – however noteworthy – came on easier courses and against only a handful of players who can still compete on the main Tours in America and Europe.

And it is not as if Europe are likely to be short of candidates worthy of a wild card when Paul McGinley announces his three selections on September 2.

As things stand, Graeme McDowell, Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood are all outside the qualifying places, while Luke Donald is vulnerable to losing the final automatic place over the next few weeks.

Westwood's poor recent form means his ever-present record since making his debut in 1997 is under threat, while McGinley also has the option of the likes of Miguel Angel Jimenez – also over 50, but a winner on the regular European Tour this year – and Holland's Joost Luiten, who impressed McGinley in the EurAsia Cup in March.

Whether McGinley follows McIlroy's suggestion and fills his two vacancies for vice-captains with Langer and Montgomerie remains to be seen.

Press Association

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