Jul 22 2011 by Gordon Bannerman, Perthshire Advertiser Friday
COLIN Montgomerie is urging golf fans to keep an eye out next month’s Johnnie Walker Championships at Gleneagles to spot talent for the 2014 Ryder Cup.
The Perthshire-based golfer says the event could be the springboard for Europeans to prove they have what it takes to conquer the PGA Centenary Course ahead of the 2014 event.
And Montgomerie hopes that, when the Ryder Cup comes to his homeland, Europe will be defending the trophy won under the captaincy of Jose Maria Olazabal in 2012 and already the 48-year-old is thinking about what might be.
He said: “It will be interesting to see who plays well at the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles as it may answer some of the questions as to who will make the 2014 team.
“Just look back at Graeme McDowell last year, with his win at the Wales Open over the Twenty Ten Course at Celtic Manor, he went on to play a pivotal role in my team as everyone knows.
“Showing you play well on a Ryder Cup course is very important and this tournament presents a great opportunity for Europeans to do just that.”
Europeans who will be looking to lay down a marker come August 25 will include reigning champion Edoardo Molinari whose heroics at last year’s championship secured him a place in Monty’s team, along with fellow team-mates Ross Fisher and Peter Hanson who will also be looking to impress.
Simon Dyson and Ross McGowan, who narrowly missed out on a 2010 Ryder Cup spot and one of Montgomerie’s vice captains and recent Qatar Masters Champion, Thomas Bjorn who has experienced a resurgence in form this season are also ones to watch.
“It’s exciting to think that in 3 years time the 2014 Ryder Cup will be coming to Gleneagles,” said reigning champion, Molinari.
“It will certainly be in the back of my mind come Thursday when I tee off at the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles.
“It is a special course and tournament for me because that is where I secured my Ryder Cup place last season and another good performance there would hopefully put me at the front of our future captain’s mind.
“Playing an important part of the European Ryder Cup team was a dream I have now fulfilled but it has only spurred me on to achieve more.”
Leading the Scottish challenge along with Montgomerie when the tournament gets underway in late August, will be a whole host of fellow countrymen, including, 1999 Open Champion Paul Lawrie, Marc Warren, Stephen Gallacher and also 28-year-old Richie Ramsay, the Aberdonian is keen to put on a good performance in front of the home fans.
“I’m really looking forward to this year’s Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles,” said Ramsay.
“To win in front of your home fans on a course that will host the Ryder Cup would be awesome, and of course it wouldn’t hurt to impress the future captain either. I really like the PGA Centenary Course and I was very happy when it was awarded the 2014 Ryder Cup.”
The 2011 Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles will again be broadcast on Sky Sports and will be played at Gleneagles PGA Centenary Course from August 25-28.
As the venue for the Johnnie Walker Championship and the Host Venue for the 2014 Ryder Cup, The Gleneagles Hotel is one of the strongest supporters of golf in Scotland. That support is being increased this year with the introduction of ‘£5 Friday’ during the week of the Johnnie Walker Championship.
Gleneagles will donate all the revenue from on-the-day ticket sales to clubgolf – Scotland’s junior golf development programme.
Tickets are available at europeantourtickets.com Parking is free.
For full details on the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles visit the website www.johnniewalkerchampionship.com; for further details on The Gleneagles Hotel, visit the website www.gleneagles.com