Monty revels in European strength

COLIN MONTGOMERIE made an apology yesterday – for something he knows he will have to do at the end of August.

Europe’s Ryder Cup captain is already preparing himself for the calls he will be making to some star players telling them they are not in his team.

Montgomerie, at Loch Lomond this week for the Barclays Scottish Open, said: “I don’t think any captain has had this dilemma before. I unfortunately am going to have to leave out some very, very good players, some winners this year in America and/or Europe.

“I say now, I apologise for the fact, but I’ve got to because of the strength and depth that we have.”

Qualifying finishes on August 29 and two majors and a world championship are among the tournaments still to come, but as things stand the following need one of Montgomerie’s three wild cards:

* Justin Rose, twice a winner in America in the last five weeks.

* Pádraig Harrington, winner of two Opens and a US PGA.

* Paul Casey, world number three this time last year.

* Sergio Garcia, world number two 16 months ago.

* Henrik Stenson, world number four 14 months ago.

* Robert Karlsson, European number one two seasons ago.

* Alvaro Quiros, the biggest hitter in golf.

* Rhys Davies, according to Montgomerie the best putter in Europe.

There is also a possibility that Luke Donald, the current world number seven, could join that list this week as he, like most of Europe’s big guns, is missing the Scottish Open to prepare for next week’s British Open at St Andrews.

Montgomerie has never seen such strength in depth on this side of the Atlantic.

“Competition breeds success,” he stated. “With Pádraig Harrington’s success I think the standards have risen. They have all tried to emulate his success and we are looking with real confidence for European success at The Open. There’s no question that we go into the Ryder Cup as favourites and I’m just honoured to be their captain. It’s very exciting times.”


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