Belfast Telegraph

Monday 21 April 2014

Colin Montgomerie backs system that denies him second shot at Ryder Cup captaincy

Colin Montgomerie

Colin Montgomerie was the first to shake the hand of Paul McGinley, Europe's new Ryder Cup captain. He had hoped the honour would fall to him in the final, chaotic weeks of a selection process that might yet be changed to move with the times.

A system that allowed a former captain to return to the frame in the era of one-term ownership might be something the European Tour might want to look at. Though Thomas Bjorn, the chairman of the 15-man tournament committee charged with deciding on the captaincy, believes the present process should stay, there was sufficient confusion elsewhere to suggest it will have to change, not least among the younger players, like Rory McIlroy, who believe the members of the Ryder Cup team should have more of a say.



The European Ryder Cup director, Richard Hills, said the selection process would be looked at as part of a review, but offered no hint that change was imminent. In the meantime the personalities involved are left to make sense of victory and failure. Montgomerie, a supporter of the system that cast him aside on this occasion, was in reflective mood the morning after the night before.



"I wasn't in the picture until about a week before Christmas when I heard others felt there was an opportunity to captain the team at home in Scotland. My name was thrown into the hat. It would have been a dream come true but it hasn't happened. I was flattered to be in that position. There is no bitterness at all. There are 15 of us on that committee and they have been appointed by the players to represent them and that's the process we have. There's no real need for any change," Montgomerie said.



"We'll all get behind Paul now. We wish him well. He was a very good vice-captain. I appointed him as Seve Trophy captain with Thomas Bjorn in 2009 and he did a very good job. And he has done a very good job as vice-captain twice. The first player to congratulate him was me. And I'm glad about that because we are all in the same boat."



McGinley, who had to switch his phone off after being bombarded with more than 200 texts, revealed that he went to the meeting with two prepared speeches to cover both eventualities.



"I thought about how it might be if I didn't get the job," he said. "I had notes in my pocket about how I was going to project myself and what I was going to do. I assured George [O'Grady, European Tour chief executive] and Richard this morning that I would act with the integrity expected by the tour. If it wasn't going to be me, despite the players' support, I would wish the winner the best of luck, and leave it at that knowing that it was probably my last opportunity. I don't think I was going to be captain in two years' time."



That is not an issue for him now.

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