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Colin Montgomerie on brink of Ryder Cup greatness

By Phil Goodlad
BBC Scotland at the Ryder Cup

European captain Colin Montgomerie speaking at the Ryder Cup opening ceremony
Montgomerie revels in the unique atmosphere of the Ryder Cup

Colin Montgomerie is often viewed as a walking contradiction.

Brilliant golfer/never won a major. Friendly and helpful/grumpy and awkward. Sporting loner/ultimate team player.

Whatever your view, one of Scotland's best ever golfers stands on the brink of further greatness at Celtic Manor.

While compatriots Bernard Gallacher and Sam Torrence have led Europe to Ryder Cup success, they do not come close to Monty's record in the biennial clash with the United States

Montgomerie has played in eight Ryder Cups, winning 23.5 points. It's the third highest haul in the event's history.

Furthermore, he's never lost in eight singles matches. Forget the current EU President - Colin Montgomerie is Mr Europe.

Ryder Cup golf is a bizarre idea. Two teams each made up of 12 guys, who week-in, week-out, travel the world playing against each other for mind-boggling sums of money.

Then every two years players from this most individual of sports team up for three days to battle for nothing more than collective pride.

Some, like Tiger Woods, flatter to deceive. But team ethos and playing for each other gets the best out of others, namely Monty.

He has already said that captaining the European team this week is the "proudest moment of his career" win, lose or draw.

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Quite a statement from a man who has holed not one but two Ryder Cup winning putts.

So what is it about this event that transforms Monty?

"It's different because now he has 12 guys (to look after)" says European team member Miguel Angel Jimenez.

"Before it was 14 clubs in (his) hands to play. He loves the tournament."

Another one of Montgomerie's players, Lee Westwood, also sees a difference in his skipper.

"He's a little bit more relaxed this week, his mood swings are less," said the Englishman.

"He can be up and down quite a lot. But I think this week, because whatever he does is directly influenced onto the team, I think he wants to be on an even keel."

Perhaps Westwood sums up Montgomerie the golfer best when speaking about what winning the Ryder Cup would mean for his captain.

"A win this weekend would write his name in the Ryder Cup history books," he added. "But, at the end of the day in golf, we are individuals and I'm sure he misses not having a major championship on his CV."

Therein lies the Colin Montgomerie contradiction.

If he ends this week as a wining captain his name is up there as one of the true greats. But only in Ryder Cup golf…

For Europe the aim is to win back that famous gold trophy. For Mr Europe aka 'Oor Monty' it's to cement his place in the game's history.



see also
Ryder Cup tee times
30 Sep 10 |  Golf
Ryder Cup opening pairs revealed
30 Sep 10 |  Golf
Westwood wants to lead from front
30 Sep 10 |  Golf
Tweets not banned - Montgomerie
28 Sep 10 |  Golf
Montgomerie writes losing speech
27 Sep 10 |  Golf


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