MONTY FINDS ROYAL TROPHY VICTORY PRIME PREPARATION FOR THE RYDER CUP


Colin Montgomerie insists he learned plenty of lessons that will be invaluable in his bid to win back the Ryder Cup by leading Europe to their dramatic Royal Trophy triumph.

Montgomerie says he will be a better Ryder Cup Captain after his ‘dry run’ in Thailand, where Europe secured a last-gasp 8 1/2 – 7 1/2 victory over Asia in a classic shoot-out.

Monty’s role as Player-Captain allowed him to test out some of his theories on leadership – and to prove his own fighting spirit remains undimmed, as he holed an incredible putt on the final green to safeguard his proud record of never having lost a singles match for Europe.

He said: “Being a Player-Captain was very difficult, and it just proves that it would be impossible in the Ryder Cup.

“It is very difficult to concentrate on your own game and balance it with the task of captaincy as well, even when there is only one round of matches and everyone plays in all three sessions.

“I needed eyes in the back of my head to keep track of what was going on. Leader boards can only tell you so much – they can’t offer insights into the dynamics of how a certain match is being played out.

“But it underlines the need of at least three very good Assistant Captains, possibly four for when I have to leave one match to keep an eye on another one.

“And of course it was good training for me as Captain. I saw many potential members of my Ryder Cup team playing in Thailand, and it was fascinating to see how they handled everything that was going on.

“Five of them were new to the experience of being part of a European Team, to the whole team room atmosphere. I enjoyed watching how they all reacted.

“On the plane home the first thing I did was to write down certain aspects of the captaincy that I felt did and didn’t work, and others that perhaps just need a little refining.

“I’m learning all the time, and I will go on doing that right up until the time my first pairing steps onto the first tee – and probably throughout the competition itself too.

“One thing is for sure, I will leave no stone unturned in my bid to regain the Ryder Cup. And I felt I found a couple of interesting things under some of the ones I turned over here.”

Montgomerie says he also appreciated the need for camaraderie is greater than ever – but says Europe still has a head start in that respect.

He explained: “The European Tour is a very close family, a family that shares the same hotels, eats out together, and enjoys time spent together, as any big family should.

“I now look forward to getting the twelve best players in Europe and welcoming them to Celtic Manor in October, and I hope there are many players from this Royal Trophy Team who will make it.

“We have a large number of outstanding players in Europe, a wealth of talent that is far greater than at any time since I started playing more than 20 years ago. And we have just witnessed that.

“I will have a very difficult decision in picking three players once the nine automatic members of the team have qualified. I could easily pick 23.

“Let’s hope I can get the best out of them, and that we can regain the Ryder Cup. This is a big year for European golf, and the Royal Trophy was a great start for us.”

One thing Montgomerie is eager to avoid is a repeat of the stomach-churning climax to a nip-and-tuck battle with Asia’s finest golfers.

World number eight Henrik Stenson had to hole a seven footer for a winning par at the final hole to level his match with Asian number one Thongchai Jaidee, and prevent the contest being decided by a sudden death play-off.

But that was only after Monty claimed an invaluable half with China’s Liang Wen-chong, responding to his opponent’s thirty foot putt for a birdie at the last by holing from twenty feet himself.

Monty added: “I hope it’s not as close as that in the Ryder Cup. But Henrik Stenson was put at number eight for a reason.

“He looks a certainty for Celtic Manor and the way he closed out both of his games on the last two days – when, by his own admission, he was not at his best – tells you a lot about his grit and his character.

“As for my putt on 18, professional pride has kept me going for a long time. It has never been a problem for me to find something extra when I have been wearing European colours, as I was here.

“It’s fair to say I saw the same never-say-die spirit in Henrik, and it is what I want from all my players. That can make the difference between winning and losing Ryder Cups.

“And all credit to Asia for giving us such a hard battle. We always knew there was enormous potential in Asia, and I think having golf in the Olympics will do more for this area than anywhere else in the world.

“There will be more opportunities to play, and heightened interest in the game. That will help the Royal Trophy become even bigger in the years to come.”

“Colin Montgomerie led the European Team magnificently. He surpassed all expectations on and off the golf course;” stated the Royal Trophy Managing Director, Lincoln Venancio.

“We wish him all the best in his bid to lead Europe to victory at the Ryder Cup;” added Lincoln Venancio.

The fourth edition of the Royal Trophy took place on 8-10 January 2010 at the exclusive Amata Spring Country Club in Chonburi, Thailand. The Championship features a series of sixteen matches including the foursomes, four-ball and singles formats. The Principal Award for the winning Continent is stewardship of the perpetual solid-silver sixteen-kilogram Trophy, graciously donated by the world’s longest reigning Monarch – His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand. The Royal Trophy was organized in Thailand by the Sports Authority of Thailand and Entertainment and Sports Co., Ltd. The Championship is promoted internationally by Entertainment Group Limited.

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