Montgomerie still in Ryder Cup running, insists Faldo

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The Independent Online

Time may well be running out for Colin Montgomerie, but at least his captain has not given up on him. No matter how tetchy their relationship.

Indeed, Nick Faldo yesterday gave the Scot all the inspiration he could possible ask for as he goes into this week's prestigious PGA Championship here, desperately trying to resurrect his attempt to qualify for a ninth Ryder Cup.

"I believe Monty will turn it around," said Faldo, who will be chasing Europe's fourth Cup in a row in Louisville in September. "I certainly haven't counted that out. Monty has a great way of producing the goods when he really needs to. A player of his ability still has enough time to make it happen."

Montgomerie will be glad to hear so on two counts. The first, most obvious, one is the breakdown in communications between the pair at last year's Seve Trophy where Faldo accused his former Cup partner of not being a team player and Montgomerie responded with inevitable anger. Blessedly, for any European fans, that hatchet appears well and truly buried.

The second reason why Montgomerie will be chuffed by Faldo's endorsement is his wretched form. In truth, even his new wife, Gaynor, may find it hard to hold out much hope for him following a run that has seen him drop to his worst world ranking (90th) for almost 18 years. Since the start of February his best finish in a stroke play tournament has been a tie for 48th. Never mind Louisville, it is "Lousyville" where Montgomerie is currently rooted.

Little wonder, therefore, that Faldo wisely chose to sidestep the question of Montgomerie gaining one of his two wild card picks, although the six-time major winner did indicate that the 44-year-old would have to be in some kind of form before the match to earn the nod. "It all depends where he is, like anybody in that last six weeks," he said. "That period is going to be key for me."

For his part, Montgomerie feels he must win twice to guarantee a spot – either automatically or to warrant a wild card – and is plainly relieved to be back on turf that has always proved eminently suited to his game. "I have very fond memories of the PGA Championship," he said yesterday. "I have won the event three times, in 1998, 1999 and 2000 and finished in the top 10, 12 times. It is big money. The prize fund is the biggest on the Tour this year, more than £3.5m. Yes, this is a great opportunity to pick up those Ryder Cup points."