Montgomerie named Ryder Cup captain

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The Independent Online

Colin Montgomerie vowed to win back the Ryder Cup after being appointed captain of the European team for next year's match at Celtic Manor.

The Scot ruled out playing in the match himself, even if he has an outstanding next 18 months.

But he is certain the players who will battle it out for places in his 12-man team have the qualities required to defeat Corey Pavin's United States side.

Asked what his message to the players would be, Montgomerie said: "That's very easy.

"We go and we claim back the Ryder Cup. I've been given a task, not just to captain this team in Wales but to win back the Ryder Cup in Wales."

As he addressed media at a European Tour press conference in Dubai, Montgomerie explained: "We feel something's missing on this table here.

"The last three Ryder Cup captains have had the privilege of sitting here with the Ryder Cup in front of them.

"We don't this evening and it's my job to make that come true for our following captain in 2012."

Montgomerie, so often an inspiration on the course at previous Ryder Cups, will switch to a leadership role after fending off competition from the likes of Jose Maria Olazabal and Sandy Lyle for the job.

Olazabal will help Montgomerie in Wales, the new captain confirmed, and the Spaniard could well be in charge at the subsequent Ryder Cup in 2012.

However there was no announcement on the captain for 2012 today, despite speculation it would be a day on which both appointments would be made.

Montgomerie, 45, may now have played in his last Ryder Cup even though he intends to attempt to make the 2012 team.

The five-time Ryder Cup winner, who missed out on last year's team, has won eight caps and won 23.5 points.

That puts him just 1.5 points behind record holder Nick Faldo, who was last year's captain when Europe were resoundingly beaten at Valhalla.

In December, Pavin was appointed as captain of the American team for the 2010 match, succeeding Paul Azinger, and Montgomerie confirmed he would speak with his rival today.

He added: "This is one of the proudest moments I can think of.

"It's not just an honour but a huge responsibility as well.

"It is important we do everything we can to claim back the Ryder Cup in Wales in 2010."

Montgomerie revealed it was support from European players which convinced him to go for the job.

Until this month there seemed no prospect of him making himself available for the post, however he admitted players, including the chairman of the committee which selected the Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn, had influenced his thinking.

"I've been listening and taking heed of what they have been saying," Montgomerie said.

"It just seems the time is right for me to take the helm here and be captain."

Montgomerie ruled out any prospect of him being a playing captain next year.

"All the points I earn as a player for the Ryder Cup will be nullified," he said.

"I will not in any way, shape or form come close to qualifying for the team."

Speaking of Olazabal, Montgomerie said: "It's obvious that Jose Maria will be part of my team at Celtic Manor.

"We have a great understanding and I have had a respect for him since we first came together in the British Amateur final in 1984 and it's amazing how we have gone forward since that.

"You'll know in due course who will join the backroom staff but it's very important that we get those players and members of the tour to claim the Ryder Cup in 2010."

Bjorn said the decision to appoint Montgomerie was unanimous among the 15-strong panel.

He said: "At one stage we thought about naming two captains but we felt that we should concentrate on one captain at a time.

"That is what we should be doing and I can say that the committee was unanimous in thinking that Colin was the right man to win the Ryder Cup and take those men into battle."

Montgomerie is confident there is more than enough talent in European golf to give the Americans a true test when Pavin brings his team across the Atlantic.

"With the wealth of talent that we have on the European Tour we could field three teams that are almost as strong as each other," he said.

"We have new talent emerging and a nucleus of the team that I am sure will remain.

"But we have new talent emerging which I will be very excited to captain."