Hanson threatens to Czech Monty's plans

If Swede wins today the captain will have to leave a superstar out of Ryder Cup

Colin Montgomerie would not have ringed the Czech Open as one of the more important European Tour events to keep an eye on in the race to make his Ryder Cup team.

But today the captain will be perched on his sofa praying for Miguel Angel Jimenez to prevail. In fact, anybody but Peter Hanson or Simon Dyson.

It looks a forlorn wish as Hanson leads by four from Dyson and Jimenez. A Hanson or Dyson victory would herald glory for themselves and a nightmare for Montgomerie. In truth, Hanson's fully-deserved elevation appears inevitable.

The Swede's second title of the season would push Paul Casey out of the top nine who will go forward automatically to Celtic Manor when qualification concludes in seven days' time. Montgomerie will then be presented with a stark choice – three from Casey, Padraig Harrington, Luke Donald and Justin Rose. Without a doubt, it would be the most difficult selection decision any Europe captain has ever faced.

If only it were that simple. It will not be merely a case of phoning the odd superstar and saying "Sorry, but what could I do?" Montgomerie will have to face the media, who will all too readily recall a Monty declaration made back in June. "I expect anyone who wants a wildcard to be at Gleneagles [next week for the final qualifying event, the Johnnie Walker Championship]," said the no-nonsense leader. "Let's just say it will be in their interests to do so."

Well, they won't be there – they have other interests. Yesterday, Donald's management confirmed that he has decided not to make a last-minute switch and travel over to Scotland. Instead, just like Harrington, Rose and Casey, he will tee it up in the first of the £7m American play-off events. So if Montgomerie is to go with the obvious and name the top-ranked players at his disposal, he will have to sit there on Sunday evening – not only as the captain but also the event's promoter – and name a trio who have effectively disobeyed his orders.

Perhaps it will be his fault to find himself in such an uncomfortable position. But for once there will be sympathy among the rank and file for the big Scot. The shameless dollar-chasers have seen to that.

Andrew Coltart speaks for many on the Tour when questioning the priorities of the heavyweight stay-aways. "The Ryder Cup is the pinnacle of a lot of players' careers, but is money more important to people nowadays?" said Coltart, who played in the 1999 match. "I'm a bit concerned about that. I'd like to have seen them come back, support Europe. But they've got other things on their plate. The FedEx Cup is maybe tied into some of their sponsorship deals and they've decided they're going to plough on after that."

While Harrington and Co insist the Ryder Cup is still a main focus, many look at their non-negotiable schedules and wonder. Coltart is not naming names, but he is prepared to reveal that certain characters have expressed to him their indifference to the biennial spectacular.

"I heard Corey Pavin [the US captain] saying – and I would be one in this camp who would agree – that you'd want to play in the Ryder Cup at all costs," said Coltart, who is a past member of the Players' Committee, the Tour's power-brokers. "But I've heard some mutterings from players over here that they're not so sure. Maybe that's them just trying to play it down should their noses be put out of joint, I'm not so sure, but I was surprised to hear it."

The actions of Monty's Stateside quartet have only added to a growing feeling on the European Tour ranges that there has been a flip-flopping in attitude towards the Ryder Cup. Once the accusation was that it was Europe who were enthusiastic about the team format of the Ryder Cup and that the Americans were a mere bunch of individuals. But now, when a player like Bubba Watson can lose in the play-off of a USPGA and immediately say it was more important to earn a place in the Ryder Cup, the signs of a role reversal are obvious.

"Absolutely," said Coltart. "I can't condone it. It's pretty poor. It would be very sad if that's the way it's swinging. I'm proud of being a European and that Europe has always had great values regarding the Ryder Cup. It's a shame to hear suggestions like that."

If he was allowed, Montgomerie would no doubt agree. What a week lies in store for the captain. Would he dare to drop two of the big four and be seduced by the emotive pull of Italy's Edoardo Molinari, who will not only be in Auchterarder but already has his brother Francesco in the team? So much for Montgomerie's boast: "You can't have too many options."

people And here is why...
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
Arts and Entertainment
Hayley Williams performs with Paramore in New York
musicParamore singer says 'Steal Your Girl' is itself stolen from a New Found Glory hit
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?