Jacklin meets old foes

Tony Jacklin will put his famed captaincy skills to the test once again when the Rest of the World take on the United States in the third UBS Cup.

Tony Jacklin will put his famed captaincy skills to the test once again when the Rest of the World take on the United States in the third UBS Cup.

The Ryder Cup-style contest pits two 12-man teams against each other at Sea Island in Georgia with the home side going for a third straight victory.

But the Rest of the World side will be led by the most successful European Ryder Cup captain ever, and Jacklin has lost none of his appetite for the fray.

“It is very exciting,” said Jacklin, who did so much to ensure the current popularity of the Ryder Cup by steering Europe to its first win in 28 years at The Belfry in 1985, its first win on US soil in 1987 and retained the trophy with a 14-14 tie two years later.

“The fact that the Rest of the World team has not won, yet, certainly spurs me on. I will be captaining some of the fellows I captained in the Ryder Cup, Nick Faldo, Ian Woosnam and Bernhard Langer.

“Colin Montgomerie will be a good asset too. Although maybe this year his game has not been to the standard he has set for the last decade, he is still a very fine player.

“As you saw in the last Ryder Cup, he is capable of anything.”

Jacklin, who will face opposite number Arnold Palmer in Sunday’s singles after six foursomes matches on Friday and six fourballs on Saturday, added: “I think people enjoy watching matchplay.

“Kill or be killed, there is an unpredictability about it. We have seen so many times now on paper very strong-looking teams get beaten on the day.

“I have played very little competition these days, it is time for me to get involved in other things. But I am excited about teeing it up with Arnold. We go back a long time and I played with him first at the World Cup in Japan in 1966. Peter Alliss and I played for England against Arnold and Jack Nicklaus.”

Jacklin has been forced to make two late changes to his team with another victorious Ryder Cup captain, Sam Torrance, and Zimbabwe’s Mark McNulty involved in the final stage of qualifying for the US Seniors Tour this week.

Ireland’s Des Smyth and Vicente Fernandez take their place in a strong visiting team which also features Eduardo Romero and England’s Carl Mason, winner of four titles on the European Seniors Tour in 2003.

Montgomerie is the youngest member of the team, which features six players aged 40 or over and six aged 50 and over, having just turned 40 in June.

The Scot, who failed to win a European Tour event this year for the first time since 1992, said: “I missed out on being captained by Tony in the Ryder Cup as he finished in 1989 and I only made my debut in 1991, so it will be fascinating to experience Tony as my captain.

“The US team is really strong on paper. We all know Tom Watson is still playing at an extremely high level as are all their players. We certainly have a tough challenge ahead but I am sure we can pull it off.”

Montgomerie has employed his fourth different caddie of the year for the event, after parting company with Royal Troon member Colin Cotter.

Midlander Andy Forsyth is on the bag this week with a view to filling the vacancy permanently next year.

The American team features the past and future Ryder Cup captains in the shape of Curtis Strange and Hal Sutton, as well as Watson, Brad Faxon, Ray Floyd, Hale Irwin and Mark O’Meara.

More in this section

Sport Newsletter

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox