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11 December 2023

Ryder Cup 'team' pay tribute to captain

Colin Montogomerie is a popular choice as the new Ryder Cup captain (PATRICK CASTILLO)

By John McAuley

Lee Westwood led the support for Colin Montgomerie's appointment as Europe's 2010 Ryder Cup captain.

The Englishman, himself a Cup veteran having featured in the past six tournaments, believes the Scot is the perfect personality to unite the team in winning back the trophy from their American opponents.

"I think it was a difficult choice for the committee," said Westwood after his opening round at the Dubai Desert Classic yesterday. "They narrowed it down to Jose Maria [Olazabal] and Monty, both of them are very good candidates, but they gave it to Monty and I think he will be a good captain.

"He's good in the team room and he pulls everybody together. He's very vocal around the table and will lead like he's done as a player."

Montgomerie is the second most successful European points scorer in Ryder Cup history and will look to use his knowledge of the competition to inspire his side. The 45-year-old has vowed to continue to battle it out with his potential team members during the inaugural Race to Dubai and Justin Rose, who debuted in Valhalla last September, feels Montgomerie's close relationship with the rest of the players will work to his advantage.

"I think we always knew Colin was going to be captain," said Rose.

"He's had an incredible career and the Ryder Cup has brought out the best in him. I thought in my mind it would be Scotland in 2014 [when Montgomerie would lead the team], but I guess once you get given the chance you may as well take it for sure.

"He's certainly in with all the players and his face will still be around a lot, so I think he will be really effective in terms of a wildcard situation and the form of the players running into it."

Graeme McDowell, another debutant in Kentucky, and one of the few highlights in the Europeans' loss to the United States, was delighted with Montgomerie's selection and is already looking forward to resuming the battle for golf's most prestigious prize at Celtic Manor in Wales next year.

"I think Colin will be a fantastic captain," said the Northern Irishman. "He's been around enough Ryder Cups, winning Ryder Cups and that, to know what needs to be done.

"I had a chat with him after the last one and I'm sure we'll have a bigger, better and badder team in Wales."

McDowell added: "He's led Europe out many times in singles and he's been there and understands the pressure. He knows all the players really well, which is huge.

"I was surprised in a little way because I think he would have the game to maybe get on the next team, but it's obviously big of him to take the captaincy and lead us to victory in Wales."