Only a win for Sergio Garcia in this week's USPGA Championship will secure his sixth appearance in the Ryder Cup. That is the uncompromising message from the Europe captain Colin Montgomerie.
“Unless Sergio finishes extremely high here, in the top one, we won't be seeing him at Celtic Manor,” said the 47-year-old. “Yes, he has to win this week. Sergio has said he will take a break if he isn't in the Ryder Cup and I think that's right.”
It was a stark warning to the Spaniardand plainly one that Montgomerie did not feel entirely comfortable in making.
Two months ago, the Scot admitted he found it difficult to imagine going into battle without Garcia. But now with his form still in the doldrums as he hangs on inside the top 50, the 30-year-old is a rank outsider.
Montgomerie said: “Who would have thought a year ago that the Americans would have been discussing whether Tiger Woods will be in the team and we in Europe are talking about Garcia missing it? Two of the greatest players?”
In truth, Montgomerie could do without another high-profile European requiring a wildcard. With three events to go, Padraig Harrington, Paul Casey, Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson and Robert Karlsson are all out the nine automatic placings.
The first-name trio have apparently made a pact not to travel in two weeks time for the last qualifying event at Gleneagles.
It means that Monty, after previously stating, he expects all of his prospective captain's picks to be at the Johnnie Walker Championship, may well be in the decidedly sticky position of naming three players who have all decided to compete that week in America instead.