Jun 17 2011 by Gordon Bannerman, Perthshire Advertiser Friday
RYDER Cup winning captain Colin Montgomerie will know when it’s quitting time.
The Strathearn-based star believes he can still give the young guns of the European Tour a run for their money.
Monty, who took the Ryder Cup on an impromptu tour of the PGA Centenary Course this week at the opening of the refurbished £3 million Dormy House, maintains leading the European team to glory in Wales last year outshone any of his achievements on the golf course.
But with his 48th birthday looming next week, on his return from the US Open with the Sky Sports team, he is adamant the commentary booth and golf course design business can wait.
“I hope to have another three or four years in me if I am remaining competitive. The day will come when I don’t feel I can win and that will be the signal to stop,” he said.
He may be a record eight-times European Order of Merit winner, the most successful ever Brit on the European Tour and a runner-up in four Majors – but it was all eclipsed by his Ryder Cup exploits last year.
Monty, who accepted a £75,000 donation from Aberdeen oilmen to the Elizabeth Montgomerie Foundation during his Gleneagles visit, said: “Captaining the Ryder Cup team is the greatest accolade and honour for any golfer in Europe.
“You couldn’t have scripted the dramatic finish at Celtic Manor. It wasn’t good for my nerves but it was great for golf and the Ryder Cup. It’s fantastic to have the destiny of the cup decided by the final match – if you win!”
Battle-hardened veteran Monty is well aware of the ever-escalating profile of the Ryder Cup.
“I took it out onto the golf course because it is such an iconic trophy, one of the most instantly recognisable in world sport. People want to see it and touch it. It means so much to every European golfer to have won it in Wales. And the trophy transcends golf.”
“It’s so cut-throat and the captain is like the manager of a football team. And he gets the blame for a defeat.
There is no hiding place. If you win you are almost bombproof – but not if you lose! It is a highly pressurised situation for any captain and half a point proved to be the difference between winning and losing.”
Monty indicated the key to victory at rain-lashed Celtic Manor was methodical preparation.
“For 18 months we were setting-up to win. The weather conditions were horrendous but we were prepared. The Americans weren’t. Their waterproofs weren’t waterproof, which doesn’t help!
“I had been out to Hong Kong to design our golf bags and our waterproofs for the caddies and players even had special pockets to accommodate the yardage books. We prepared to the nth degree.”
With the deluge pushing the climax of the event into Monday for the first time, a Sunday session held the key to victory, with the Europeans claimed 5½ from six.
“That won us the Ryder Cup,” declared Monty.
The dates have yet to be finalised for the 2014 Ryder Cup in Perthshire.
He admitted there was “a long list of potential captains” for 2014, with his vice-captains Paul McGinley, Thomas Bjorn and Darren Clarke all contenders for Gleneagles.
“If I was asked again, I couldn’t refuse the captaincy. But whoever gets it will do a great job and hopefully he will be going for three in a row.
“It would difficult not to be involved in some capacity in 2014, especially living locally and having such close ties with Gleneagles. This is home.”