Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Monty: Ryder Cup Is My Major Mission

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Monty: Ryder Cup Is My Major Mission

Article excerpt


COLIN MONTGOMERIE'S single-minded obsession with golf, and winning in particular, almost cost him his marriage. That much is in the public domain.

So is the happy reconciliation between Colin and his wife Eimear, a product of the player's timely realisation that his family meant more to him than trophy-winning putts and drives.

Yet there remained a suspicion that this intriguing sportsman still harboured a secret longing to win a major championship that overrode all other emotions.

The Surrey-based Scot has won seven successive European Orders of Merit, more than 30 tournaments, and is a principle reason why Europe have won three of the past four Ryder Cups. But without a major, the received wisdom was that he could not rest easy.

Today, Standard Sport can knock that assumption clean out of bounds.

The question posed to Montgomerie was this: if you are to be granted only one career-defining victory, is it to be at a major or as captain of the European Ryder Cup team? Montgomerie, famously quick of wit, opinion and temper, lolled back in a chair, considering his reply for longer than Bernhard Langer takes to line up a putt.

However, the period of contemplation merely added weight to the response: "For me, now, to be captain of a winning Ryder Cup team would be ahead of winning any major. It would be the ultimate honour.

"Don't get me wrong. I'm not going to take a double bogey down the last hole of a major in order to avoid a win. But at the same time, if I was to be given just one last significant triumph, I would prefer it to be the team event."

By "team", Montgomerie meant more than just the 12 players. "My wife would be there," he said.

That was a tacit acknowledgement not only of the role Eimear would play in a captaincy that has become increasingly complex, but more especially of the enduring support she has offered since their marriage in 1990. …

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