I wouldn't have picked Tiger in my team, says Montgomerie

When Tiger Woods arrives with the rest of the US Ryder Cup team at Cardiff Airport this morning he may be interested in comments made by the opposing captain. Colin Montgomerie yesterday declared that given the chance he would not have the world No 1 in his side – but he would have Jim Furyk and Steve Stricker.

This was a surprising statement from the Scot, seeing as members of his team have been warning in the last week of the perils of taunting Tiger. "Remember what happened to Stephen Ames?" said Graeme McDowell, in reference to the Canadian who was daft enough to questions Woods' predominance before the first round of the World Matchplay and was promptly dispatched by a record 9&8 scoreline.

Europe will be praying their leader's words do not provoke the same response. "I would have to say that of the Americans, Steve Stricker and Jim Furyk would be picks on my team if I had the opportunity," said Montgomerie. "They're very steady, can play in fourballs foursomes, are great single players and are great team players. No, I didn't mention Tiger there, the No 1 player in the world. Obviously, Tiger hasn't been himself on or off the course and it is matter of seeing what he does."

Having won 10 of his 25 matches, Woods' Ryder Cup record is actually better than that of Furyk (eight from 24) and Stricker (none from three). But his game since returning from a self-enforced four-month exile in the wake of a sex scandal has been unrecognisable. Monty is not alone in being uncertain about his form coming into the event he has never truly enjoyed, but among European captains he is probably alone in daring to voice these doubts.

As it happens, Mongomerie should probably be thanking Woods for ensuring Lee Westwood is teeing up on this Twenty Ten course when the biennial spectacular begins on Friday. The world No 3 revealed to The Independent it was Woods' advice that persuaded him to take a six-week break and get himself in what he calls "100 percent shape for the Ryder Cup".

"I played with Tiger in the first two rounds of the Bridgestone [Invitational] back at the start of the August and I was struggling with my ruptured calf muscle," he said. "Tiger saw me battling on and said to me, 'God you're stubborn. What are you doing?' What he said resonated with me and I thought maybe I should look at this a bit more sensibly, withdraw from that event and the following week's USPGA and do the rehab properly. Tiger's right, I am stubborn and if I'd carried on playing I probably wouldn't be at Celtic Manor."

That he will be is a huge relief to his captain. Montgomerie admitted, "it was dodgy for a while and that was why I was so pleased when I had the text off Lee two weeks ago saying, 'don't worry, I'm ready'." "He brings a consistency to the team that the others can rely on ," added Montgomerie. "And from a captain's point of view to have that sort of player you can rely on is absolutely vital."

Nevertheless, Montgomerie is prepared to let down Westwood, who has stated his desire to play in every session. "I think Lee possibly won't play five matches," he told The Independent on Sunday. In fact, Montgomerie is considering taking the unprecedented step of resting all his players in at least one of the sessions. Yesterday, Thomas Bjorn, his vice-captain, explained the rationale.

"We want our players to be fresh on Sunday," said the Dane. "I think this is the best team Europe have ever had in terms of strength in depth and for that reason there might be no need to exhaust anyone and play them five times."

Bjorn accompanied Montgomerie on a tour of Celtic Manor on Saturday evening and was flabbergasted by what he encountered. "It is definitely the best site I've ever seen in golf in all my years as a pro," said the 39-year-old. "The viewing facilities are amazing and the course is in the best condition I've ever seen a course in Europe," he said. "But the rough is very severe."

That last point should cheer each and every European fan. The home contingent has by far the straightest drivers, a point acknowledged by the last American captain. "If there is a tremendous amount of rough then I believe the US team will be in a bit of trouble," said Paul Azinger. Well, there is a tremendous amount and it is fair to conclude that Monty believes it will be too deep for a certain Tiger.

*Padraig Harrington's final competitive outing before the Ryder Cup saw him equal his lowest round of the year – an eight-under-par 64. After only just surviving the halfway cut at the Vivendi Trophy in Paris, Harrington played his final 36 holes in 12-under, providing the controversial wildcard with a much-needed boost. It was too late to put the Irishman in contention but it did enable him to finish eighth.

Ryder Cup countdown: 4 days to go

Four players have recorded 100 per cent Ryder Cup records for Great Britain & Ireland/ Europe – John Fallon and John Jacobs (1955), Peter Mills (1957) and Paul Broadhurst (1991).

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Buttoned up: Ryan Reynolds with Helen Mirren in ‘Woman in Gold’
filmFor every box-office smash in his Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. Now he says it's time for a reboot
News
people
News
Actress Julianne Moore wins the Best Actress in a Leading Role Award for 'Still Alice' during the 87th Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, California
people
Sport
Ross Barkley
footballPaul Scholes says it's time for the Everton playmaker to step up and seize the England No 10 shirt
News
'We will fix it': mice in the 1970s children’s programme Bagpuss
science
Life and Style
2 Karl Lagerfeld and Choupette
fashion
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria's capital

War with Isis

Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria
Scientists develop mechanical spring-loaded leg brace to improve walking

A spring in your step?

Scientists develop mechanical leg brace to help take a load off
Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
The UK horticulture industry is facing a skills crisis - but Great Dixter aims to change all that

UK horticulture industry facing skills crisis

Great Dixter manor house in East Sussex is encouraging people to work in the industry by offering three scholarships a year to students, as well as generous placements
Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head

Hack Circus: Technology, art and learning

Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head. Rhodri Marsden meets mistress of ceremonies Leila Johnston
Sevenoaks is split over much-delayed decision on controversial grammar school annexe

Sevenoaks split over grammar school annexe

If Weald of Kent Grammar School is given the go-ahead for an annexe in leafy Sevenoaks, it will be the first selective state school to open in 50 years
10 best compact cameras

A look through the lens: 10 best compact cameras

If your smartphone won’t quite cut it, it’s time to invest in a new portable gadget
Paul Scholes column: Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now

Paul Scholes column

Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now
Why Michael Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Why Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Manchester United's talented midfielder has played international football for almost 14 years yet, frustratingly, has won only 32 caps, says Sam Wallace
Tracey Neville: The netball coach who is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

Tracey Neville is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

The former player on how she is finding time to coach both Manchester Thunder in the Superleague and England in this year's World Cup
General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?