COLIN MONTGOMERIE has not always seen eye-to-eye with Ian Poulter – and vice-versa – but Europe’s Ryder Cup captain was “delighted” with the happenings in Arizona at the weekend.
Poulter beat compatriot Paul Casey to become England’s first winner of an individual World Golf Championships title – and since it was match play as well, there was every reason for Montgomerie to smile.
“Putting my captain’s hat on it was marvellous to see so many Europeans do so well, especially to have three players in the semi-finals,” he said. Poulter defeated Sergio Garcia in the last four. I was delighted to see two Brits in the final and it was great to see Ian Poulter come through with a marvellous win and claim his first WGC title, especially in match play format.
“It’s also great to see Paul Casey playing so well and pleasing to see him getting back to full fitness after his injury last season. This all bodes well for the start of October and, as I said in Abu Dhabi, this all proves that the European players are improving all the time.
“Sergio, Paul and Ian are all rising up the world rankings, which is most encouraging, and we need that form to continue through the summer.”
As captain of the Britain and Ireland side against Continental Europe at the 2005 Seve Trophy, Montgomerie was caught on camera having heated words with Poulter.
That was over him practising instead of supporting team-mates – then two years ago, in the final week of qualifying for the Ryder Cup, Montgomerie reacted to some remarks by Poulter by saying: “It’s nice to be told what to do by one so young and so inexperienced.”
Poulter was not impressed by playing partner Montgomerie’s behaviour during the European Open last summer and as recently as last September, when Poulter chose not to play for Britain and Ireland in Paris, Montgomerie commented: “Not having qualified for the Tour Championship, and having been picked for the last Ryder Cup team, a little more effort might have been made to come here.”
Yet the pair share a common cause – wanting to beat the Americans at Celtic Manor in October – and Poulter, top-scorer under Nick Faldo with four points out of five in a losing cause at Valhalla in 2008, has stated: “I think Monty will make a great captain. With such an impressive Ryder Cup record he knows what it takes. He will inspire.”
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