Colin Montgomerie has been hailed as the “embodiment” of what it takes to be a team player – by the man who has received a million similar accolades, Spanish golfing legend Seve Ballesteros.

Even though he won five Major championships – three Opens and two Masters – Seve’s name will forever be synonymous with the Ryder Cup because of his record-breaking partnership with fellow Spaniard Jose Maria Olazabal.

But Seve says whenever his thoughts turn to the ultimate team competitor; the name that springs immediately to mind is that of Montgomerie. That is why he regards him as the perfect choice to act as Europe’s Royal Trophy Captain. He describes how Montgomerie’s contribution to Europe’s dramatic 8 1/2 – 7 1/2 victory over Asia – in the unique dual role as player-captain which he will take on again at the upcoming fifth edition of the Royal Trophy – had added to his “extraordinary” reputation.

Seve spelt out his admiration for Monty when he wrote the foreword to a book by the BBC’s highly-respected golf correspondent, Iain Carter – Monty’s Manor – celebrating the fact that Montgomerie had emulated Ballesteros as a winning Ryder Cup captain, in addition to achieving unprecedented success as a player.

The Spanish great wrote: “In my opinion, Monty has been, and still is, the player who best embodies the connection that has to exist between a player and his team. When one relies on a player who gets involved in such a determined manner – with his head, body and heart, as Colin Montgomerie does – the rest of the team functions because he provides the special reference point to focus on.

“As well as being an outstanding competitor, Colin Montgomerie has the word ‘winner’ in his genes. Colin is one of the greatest golfers that I have known.

“If he hasn’t won a Major it is only because luck was not on his side. His record in golf leaves no room for doubt. And the Ryder Cup will always have ‘Mr. Colin Montgomerie’ engraved upon it. We only have to look at his record in this competition to see that in singles no opponent managed to win against him. Six victories and two draws are his results to date. That is to say he is unbeaten.

“In the Ryder Cups I played with Monty, I noticed that his winning spirit was always there. His personality is his reputation. Few players in the world have the qualities that Monty possesses. His mental strength and charisma in the European team are passed on in a decisive way to the other players. I was even affected by this when I was his captain in 1997 at Valderrama. It was obvious from Monty’s performance that his profile was that of a winner.

“Furthermore, his character – which sometimes appears grumpy or feisty – is what has helped Monty to develop as a brilliant golfer. Also, Colin’s feelings and knowledge of how to conduct himself make him a person who is honest with himself and with others.

“I admire him for many reasons and because he has proved himself worthy of respect; both at a personal and professional level. When I have personally needed something, Colin has always been there at my side. To mention one example, his help for me with the Seve Trophy was reflected in the first four of these events. His participation as captain of the Great Britain and Ireland team helped the Seve Trophy achieve its reputation.

“The same applies to the Royal Trophy. In Thailand, Monty stood in for me as Captain and achieved victory for Europe over Asia in an extraordinary match.

“I want to state that the sport of golf owes a great deal to Colin. If he never succeeds in winning a Major I will continue to see him as a GREAT among GREATS; not for nothing has he been on eight occasions the number one in the rankings on the European circuit. His record will be very difficult to beat.

“I am convinced that the success he has achieved – and will continue to achieve for Europe – will serve my friend Colin Montgomerie as well – deserved recognition of his brilliant sporting career.”

It is a glowing tribute, but one that clearly came from the heart. Their mutual admiration is fully warranted, as both men deservedly enjoy exalted positions among the players who have helped to make European golf great.

Montgomerie is widely recognised as the finest player never to have won a Major – he has been runner-up a record five times, a cruel fate he has accepted with dignity and resignation. But in addition to his record eight European Tour Order of Merit titles, Monty’s Ryder Cup record has elevated him to a position among the golfing elite. And he admits that his dazzling Ryder Cup record has compensated for his savage misfortune in the Majors.

He commented: “I have often been asked whether I would trade what I have achieved for one Major – and the answer has to be a resounding ‘no’. Of course I would love to have converted one of those five second place finishes into a victory, but to be crowned Europe’s top player on no fewer than eight occasions is something I feel hugely proud of.

“And in many ways, my performances in team golf have been my ‘Major’ triumph. To remain unbeaten in eight Ryder Cup singles is no mean feat, and to have followed that up by captaining the team to victory as well is another source of great satisfaction.

“It was important for me to continue that success in the Royal Trophy, and having led Europe to the narrowest of wins at the start of 2010, I will be determined to organise a successful defence in 2011.

“The concept of being part of a team holds a very special place in my heart. It is something we don’t do often enough, which is why I was so keen to retain my role as Royal Trophy Captain, when Seve asked me to take on the role a second time.

“It has often been said that Europe owes its great success in recent Ryder Cups – six wins in the last eight meetings with the USA – to the fact that we embrace the team ethic more readily than our opponents. But I have to say I have been tremendously impressed with the way Asian golfers have also come to relish the prospect of bonding as a team. That is why I believe the Royal Trophy will continue to go from strength to strength.

“I am honoured to be playing a part in that growth, and I have no doubt the fifth edition of the Royal Trophy will be another great competition, a wonderful spectacle and a fine advertisement for the global game.”

“We are delighted to have Colin Montgomerie lead the European Team as Captain for the second consecutive time;” stated Lincoln Venancio, the Royal Trophy Managing Director.

“Colin is an outstanding player and captain and we are certain that he will lead the Europeans with great courage and determination;” concluded Lincoln Venancio.

The fifth edition of the Royal Trophy will be held at the magnificent Black Mountain Golf Club in the beautiful coastal town of Hua Hin, Thailand. The Championship is co-organized by the Sports Authority of Thailand, the Prachuap Khirikhan Province, the Hua Hin Municipality and Entertainment and Sports Co., Ltd. The Matches are promoted internationally by Entertainment Group Limited.

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