Monty keeps mum on Ryder Cup list

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 15 November, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 15 November, 2009, 12:00am

Forget the skeletons in the closet - Colin Montgomerie wasn't revealing the secrets held in his drawer either yesterday.

Europe's Ryder Cup captain has 12 names under lock and key back home in Dunning, Scotland, and he will only look at the list after next year's British Open to see how closely his original choices resemble the team who will bid to bring back the Ryder Cup to Europe in October.

'No one will know, unless I get it all right,' smiled long-time Hong Kong competitor Montgomerie after he carded a respectable three-under-par 67, his third sub-par round this week, to move to five-under 205.

It won't be enough to see him repeat his 2005 victory at the UBS Hong Kong Open. While happy to still be in the mix on the final day, Montgomerie said he wasn't over the moon with his performance.

'It has been safe golf, and nothing wonderful, but I will keep on trying and aiming to improve. That's always been my goal,' said the 46-year-old Scotsman, known worldwide as Monty.

Montgomerie has taken over the reins from Englishman and six-time major winner Nick Faldo - now Sir Nick - as the captain and leader of Europe who will be battling to win back the Ryder Cup at The Celtic Manor Resort in Wales next October against the Americans led by Corey Pavin.

In his latest Ryder Cup captain's blog, Montgomerie revealed that to make things interesting, he pencilled in 12 names on a sheet of paper on October 1 - the players he thinks will be with him next year in Wales.

'In a secret drawer in my house there sits a list of 12 players I think will stand beside me during the opening ceremony at Celtic Manor in a year's time and it will be interesting to see how many I get right,' said Montgomerie, who represented Europe in eight Ryder Cups.

'Obviously, I can't tell you the names of the 12, but all I will say is there are a few rookies on the list and, again, it will be intriguing to see how many of them I get right, too.'

This week, Montgomerie has two tasks in Hong Kong. The first is to try to salvage what he says has been a pretty dismal season - his best finish being tied for 12th at the Castello Masters in Spain. The other is to keep a weather eye on the Ryder Cup hopefuls.

'Yes, I have been keeping an eye on the players, looking at their performance and their stats,' Montgomerie said. 'There are a number of players here this week who I have been watching closely. You have the young guys like [Rory] McIlroy and [Ian] Poulter who are doing very well.'

One of the most successful Ryder Cup players - along with German Bernhard Langer, he has figured in five winning European teams - Montgomerie has three picks as captain. The remaining spots are filled by the natural order of things - the leading four players qualifying through the world rankings and the next five qualifying through the European money list.

A number of the players who fall into both these categories will be in action today - England's Lee Westwood and Simon Dyson, and Northern Ireland's McIlroy (all through the world rankings) and Poulter of England and Italian Francesco Molinari (European list).

'It will be great to see all these players fighting for automatic qualification over the next few months, and those who don't make it, of course, will have to try to impress me in other ways, so it is exciting,' Montgomerie said.

'I moved up myself from 14th on the list in 1990, and not being a Ryder Cup player, to fourth in 1991 and on the way to my debut. So that type of person, whoever it might be, could progress as I did, learning the game and becoming better until in the end, he becomes a Ryder Cup player. It's our Olympic Games, if you like.

'I wish good luck to all the players in action over the next few months, and remember, I'm watching.'