6.52 AM Monday, 29 May 2023
  • City Fajr Shuruq Duhr Asr Magrib Isha
  • Dubai 04:01 05:26 12:19 15:41 19:07 20:32
29 May 2023

Monty left in dark

Monty tees off in the capital, but will be in Dubai in two weeks, where he will help decide the captain of Europe's Ryder Cup team. (GETTY IMAGES)

By John McAuley

Colin Montgomerie admitted at the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship yesterday that he is "surprised" to be quizzed on rumours he is in the driving seat to become Europe's next Ryder Cup captain.

A 17-strong committee, which includes the world No127 himself, met at Emirates Palace to discuss the issue last Tuesday, but after considerable debate no decision was taken.

The plan is now to regroup in Dubai at the Desert Classic in two weeks time and settle the issue.

However, Montgomerie, who carded an impressive 5-under par 67 for his second round, was shocked to find a throng of journalists waiting for him outside the scorer's desk and admitted that he did not expect to garner such investigation.

"I'm as surprised as you guys [to be linked with the 2010 captaincy]," he said. "I saw a lot of press around here and I was wondering why, because a 67 for me doesn't really suggest this number of press.

"I'll just wait and see. I don't know what's happened, but we'll find out on Wednesday evening in Dubai."

Some of Montgomerie's finest moments have come at the biennial tournament that pits Europe against America for the coveted Samuel Ryder trophy.

The 45-year-old has never lost a single's match at the event and sank the winning putt at Oakland Hills in 2004 to send his team back across the Atlantic in buoyant mood. The US have since regained the trophy, winning by five points in Valhalla last September, a result that Montgomerie feels adds significance to who they choose as Nick Faldo's successor for Celtic Manor next year.

"It's important to win back the Ryder Cup and whoever's given the task will be charged to do that," Montgomerie said.

"I think we're a well-run committee where we have good discussion and debate and it's vital to get the right guy for this particular role.

"And all I've ever said on the situation is I'd like to help the European cause in any shape or form in 2010."

Last week, Montgomerie suggested Faldo, the defeated 2008 captain, was too old at 51 to lead Europe into battle, citing an inability to forge strong relationships with some of the younger players on tour as a concern.

"There is a debate on the age of the captain that is becoming an issue and that was debated along with a number of items on Tuesday. It depends on how long you've not been playing or how many tournaments you do play, but the team is the most important thing. There will be a decision made on that Wednesday and I'm sure he'll be the best man for the job."

Montgomerie currently lies six shots off leaders Richard Green and Graeme Storm going into the last two days, the latter shooting the round of the day with an eight-under par 64. Paul Casey, who won the title in 2007, shares second place one shot back with compatriot Anthony Wall.

Casey was in inspired form throughout and hailed the intensive winter work he did with the putter as reason for his success.

"I'm very happy with the round," he said. "I hit it poorly off the tee and the thing that has not been going right for the past year or so was the putting, but it seemed to click. It's funny the way it works out, but I'm very happy with a 65 and comfortable with where I am."