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Colin Montgomerie may seek Phil Price's Ryder Cup help

CELTIC MANOR RESORT WALES OPEN
Venue: Celtic Manor Resort, Newport Date: 3 June - 6 June Starts: 0700 BST
Coverage: Score updates on BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru, BBC Radio 5 Live and online. Saturday highlights at 2345 BST on BBC TWO Wales and Sunday highlights at 2230 BST on BBC TWO Wales. Live on Sky Sports 3

By Peter Shuttleworth
BBC Sport at the Celtic Manor

Phil Price in 2002 Ryder Cup action at the Belfry
Phil Price was a Ryder Cup hero against Phil Mickelson in 2002

European captain Colin Montgomerie has given Ryder Cup hero Phillip Price hope that the Welshman could help in his backroom team in Price's home country.

Monty hailed Price's Belfry heroics and impact on the 2002 win when he beat Phil Mickelson to inspire Europe.

Price has been tipped as a possible assistant for Monty and would "love" to help inspire Europe to another Cup win.

"I think there is every chance that we'll have some sort of Welsh backroom help," said Monty.

Welsh golfing great and former world number one Ian Woosnam skippered Europe to K Club glory in 2006, with a team that included Monty in his eighth and last Ryder Cup appearance.

Woosnam was also Sam Torrance's assistant in Europe's 2002 triumph at the Belfry but is unlikely to be considered as a helper for Monty at the Celtic Manor in October.

Having home-country representation in the squad has worked in the past, Spanish legend Seve Ballesteros having been skipper when Europe beat the United States for the 1997 Ryder Cup in Spain.

Four vice-captains seems to be the number

Colin Montgomerie

Woosnam appointed Irishman Des Smyth as his trusted right-hand man when Europe beat the Americans for an unprecedented third time in Ireland in 2006.

Woosnam, the 1991 Masters champion, revealed his desire to be Ryder Cup skipper in his home-land but the European Ryder Cup committee overlooked an emotional Woosie in Wales double-act to appoint Monty.

Monty has often spoken of his desire for Welsh representation in Wales' first Ryder Cup in October - either in his 12-man team or in his backroom staff.

Irishman Paul McGinley and Thomas Bjorn of Denmark are favourites to be Monty's eyes and ears at the Celtic Manor in October.

But the 47-year-old Scot admits he wants four assistants to help him beat the Americans in Newport - and popular European Tour winner Price is among the favourites.

Monty admitted Price epitomised Europe's extraordinary team-spirit at the Belfry to beat a "better side" in the Americans, 16-and-a-half to 11-and-a-half.

Montgomerie said: "We haven't finalised the backroom staff yet as I've got to allow those potential vice-captains the chance to qualify for the team first.

"I'll know much more after the Open Championship at St Andrews next month."

Price is 942 in the world rankings and has no chance of qualifying to play at the Celtic Manor, but Monty insists he wants strong characters, regardless of their nationality, to help him in Newport.

"My job here is to win the Ryder Cup," he insisted at the Celtic Manor before the start of the 2010 Wales Open.

"We are in Wales, we are very proud to be here in Wales and from the Welsh government down they have made us feel extremely welcome. But my main task here is to regain the Ryder Cup for the European Tour.

"We will have four matches on the course at any one time and I would like to have somebody walking with each game and I oversee the whole thing. So four vice-captains seems to be the number."

I'd love to be involved in some way, shape or form

Phil Price

Price, 43, said earlier this week that the Ryder Cup crowd will not need rousing by a Welshman because Montgomerie himself is so popular in the country.

"Monty is very popular himself, I wouldn't call him Welsh but he's very popular here," said Price.

Welsh rookie Rhys Davies is the only realistic home hope of qualifying for the playing squad before the end of August deadline.

He has an outside chance of making the Ryder Cup in his first season, but the 25-year-old - who already has a European Tour win and three top-three placings this year - must continue his superb form throughout the summer.

But Price, who lives just 15 miles from the Newport course, has told Monty he would love to help him beat the Americans again.

The Welshman's shock 3&2 final-day singles victory over the then-world number two Phil Mickelson signalled victory for Europe at the Belfry in 2002.

Price, who is a fully paid-up member of the Celtic Manor's Ryder Cup Twenty Ten course, hopes he is right to help beat the Americans again.

"I'd love to be involved in some way, shape or form," he said.

Colin Montgomerie wins new Welsh friends as he reads to children at Newport Library in the build-up to the 2010 Wales Open
Colin Montgomerie reads to children at Newport Library

"I'm a member so I have tickets for my family and, whatever else comes along, it will be an important week for me whatever role I do.

"Monty has not spoken a word to me about being an assistant and he is the one that has to decide and consider whether he think that's going to help things, or does he think having a Welshman makes no difference?

"But I think the crowd love Monty and having him here will get the crowd excited enough.

"I played with him in the Wales Open last year for a few days and he's very popular.

"I think it was a great choice to have Monty as captain here in Wales, as he's more popular here than everywhere except Scotland.

"Obviously he has a course named after him here at the Celtic Manor and maybe he's always supported the Wales Open - and he was in a great mood when he played last year and the crowd loved him.

"He's very popular here. It wouldn't surprise me if there was no Welsh involvement in Monty's backroom team.

"I think he's got to pick what he thinks best, and I don't think anybody really knows he's just got to pick the guys who he thinks are going to get him the most support from the crowd."



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see also
Davies can make Cup team - Donald
02 Jun 10 |  Golf
Wales hopes to end golf hoodoo
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Donaldson back to his best
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Wales warned of Ryder Cup one-off
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Monty dealt Wales Ryder Cup blow
28 May 10 |  Golf
Montgomerie plans Garcia pep talk
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Monty calls for Scots' Ryder push
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Ryder hopefuls boost Wales field
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Twenty Ten course in photos
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Work starts on 2010 Ryder Cup
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Wales Open - former winners
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Golf on the BBC
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BBC Sport Wales coverage
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