Monty rides new wave of European confidence

Colin Montgomerie will today finally announce the vice-captains who he believes can help him win back the Ryder Cup for Europe in two months' time. Paul McGinley, Thomas Bjorn and a mystery third player have at last accepted that a managerial role is the only chance they have of aiding the cause at Celtic Manor.

That would be a rather easy truth to accept on one view of the Open leaderboard on Sunday evening. While there was some criticism of the home guard's inability to win a first Claret Jug in 11 years, in reality this was a commendable display. It wasn't too long ago when three United Kingdom players in the top five would be greeted with ecstatic disbelief. The fact there are grumbles proves the rude health of British and yes, European golf, right now.

Certainly Montgomerie recognised this. There were six Europeans in the top 10 and just two Americans. Indeed, this was just the second time in the half-century since their pros have been entering the British major, that the US didn't have a representative in the top six. As Montgomerie says: "Nobody could or would say that Europe aren't the [Ryder Cup] favourites."

It has long been a case of who the Scot will be forced to leave out when he selects his three wildcards next month. When an Irishman agrees that Padraig Harrington is not a certainty to make it, you know the competition for places is hot.

Said Graeme McDowell: "On current form maybe not but he played pretty well at Firestone and the USPGA last year. If he is playing well he is a great pick but there are a lot of players who need to pick things up. There is a lot of stuff to happen between now and the picks. I'm sure Monty is wishing he had an extra pick. But things will unfold more in the next six weeks."

Harrington, Sergio Garcia, Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson, Robert Karlsson are all currently out of qualifying positions. Paul Casey is another and after his final-round 75 two days ago – when playing in the final group with the winner – it will be interesting to see how he reacts at the WGC Bridgestone Invitational in two weeks' time and then, the week after, in the season's last major at Whistling Straits.

Lee Westwood will be high up – if not topping – the betting lists in Wisconsin after his second runner-up major finish of the year and his fourth podium placing in the last five majors. Yesterday the world No 3 was in the gym working with his fitness adviser Steven McGregor as he attempts to shake off the calf injury which required extensive treatment between rounds in Fife.

When he returns in a fortnight he will have the best chance since Nick Faldo scaled the summit in the early 90s of becoming an English world No 1. He is just 0.23 of a point behind Phil Mickelson, in second spot, and less than a point behind Tiger Woods. Both his supposed superiors look "gettable" as they underachieved in Scotland. But then, so too did Westwood, in the eyes of his manager. "I don't think that was one of his better weeks for ball-striking and yet he has finished second in The Open," said Chubby Chandler yesterday. "In two weeks' time he will be fine."

This confidence is replicated throughout the European ranks, who regard Louis Oosthuizen as one of their own. "Europeans or European Tour players will win five of the next eight majors," predicted Chandler. "I can sense what happened in the Eighties is going to happen now. But there will be 25 going to the USPGA thinking they can win it, not five. They can all see the sky is the limit after watching Graeme and Louis going down the stretch unfazed at winning a major."

Official world rankings

(Europeans in bold)

1 T Woods ......... (US) ......... 10.14pts

2 P Mickelson ......... (US) ......... 9.38

3 L Westwood ......... (Eng) ......... 9.15

4 S Stricker ......... (US) ......... 7.47

5 J Furyk ......... (US) ......... 6.61

6 E Els ......... (SA) ......... 5.79

7 R McIlroy ......... (N Irl) ......... 5.72

8 P Casey ......... (Eng) ......... 5.69

9 L Donald ......... (Eng) ......... 5.55

10 I Poulter ......... (Eng) ......... 5.38

11 G McDowell ......... (N Irl) ......... 4.95

12 M Kaymer ......... (Ger) ......... 4.94

13 A Kim ......... (US) ......... 4.83

14 R Allenby ......... (Aus) ......... 4.37

15 L Oosthuizen ......... (SA) ......... 4.12

16 R Goosen ......... (SA) ......... 4.10

17 P Harrington ......... (Rep Ire) ......... 4.01

18 J Rose ......... (Eng) ......... 3.99

19 C Villegas ......... (Col) ......... 3.87

20 Z Johnson ......... (US) ......... 3.87

News
Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband (R) and Boris Johnson, mayor of London, talk on the Andrew Marr show in London April 26
General electionAndrew Marr forced to intervene as Boris and Miliband clash on TV
News
peoplePair enliven the Emirates bore-draw
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark episode 8, review
News
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions