Captain Colin Montgomerie backs Europe to win Ryder Cup
Woods and Montgomerie have enjoyed a 12-year Ryder Cup rivalry
Colin Montgomerie believes Europe will regain the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor this year regardless of whether Tiger Woods plays for the United States.
Woods is taking an indefinite break from the game to sort out personal problems and is yet to indicate whether he will play in the biennial event.
European captain Montgomerie told BBC Sport: "A lot depends on whether Tiger plays as he hasn't lost in the singles.
"But if our 12 play to their potential, with the crowd's backing, we will win."
Montgomerie is convinced Woods will return to the game soon and despite the 34-year-old's obvious benefits to the American team, he wants to see the 14-time major winner taking on his side in Wales.
"It is a shame that this has happened to our iconic sportsman and I say that as a fellow golfer to a player I have admired," he said.
"Nobody is quite sure how long this absence is going to be. We hope he gets back playing and winning tournaments as soon as possible.
"He will come back, but whether he will retain that mystique as an iconic player, I'm not sure. It will be tougher for him, but he'll be out to prove he do this under extreme pressure.
"He has got four more to go to tie (Jack Nicklaus's record of 18 major wins) and five to beat him. He will come back and win more majors providing his drive and ambition are still there. and let's hope they are."
Montgomerie is acutely aware of the pressures facing him as he prepares to lead the European team at Celtic Manor in October.
As a player, the Scot won 23.5 points in eight Ryder Cup appearances - third on Europe's all-time scorers list - and was unbeaten in singles matches, but he failed to qualify for the 2008 event in Valhalla and was not picked as a wildcard by captain Nick Faldo.
Europe were beaten 16.5-11.5 in Kentucky, ending their run of three successive victories in the event.
Montgomerie played on five winning sides and admitted on BBC Radio 5 live's Sportsweek: "There is a big emphasis put on the captain. We are only a few days into the new year and it is evident this is the biggest year for my career.
"We are rarely brought together in a team competition and there are 12 large egos that I've got to try and cope with. I'm not apologising for that but I've got to make sure they are playing for each other.
"As a captain I will learn from the experiences of the six I played under and use a bit from everyone like of Mark James, Sam Torrance, Seve Ballesteros and Bernhard Langer."
The eight-time European order of merit winner has also not ruled out bringing in extra help in his quest for victory.
"I haven't contacted (Manchester United manager) Sir Alex Ferguson yet but he'd be first on the list and the likes of (Wales rugby union legend) Gareth Edwards, who is honorary captain of the Celtic Manor this year, would be good," he added.
"To get advice from a former Lions player and Ferguson, who has brought big egos together over the years would be useful.
"I might be asking for advice down the road, but we'll see how the team is progressing.
"A lot rests on my shoulders but all I can do is my very best if and then win, lose, or draw, I can stand tall."
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