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Golf News: - Posted 15th December 1997

Delay naming Ryder Cup captain - 'Monty'

London - Colin Montgomerie today urged golf's bosses to delay naming Europe's Ryder Cup captain until just weeks before the 1999 event in the United States.

Europe's top golfer reckons that is the only way to secure the best man for the job in Brookline, Boston.

"There's no reason why we shouldn't delay the decision for months," said Montgomerie, whose singles half-point against Scott Hoch won the Cup at Valderrama three months ago.

"We don't need a captain until the event starts. Why do we need one during the qualification system? He won't tell us what to do at that stage. There is no rush.

"We don't have the likes of a Hale Irwin, a Ben Crenshaw or Tom Kite. The Americans have a choice of 10 or 12 of that type of character.

"And while Sam Torrance and Mark James spring to mind, they want to play. It's a terrible thing to take the captaincy and possibly accept that means you're finished as a player. You could tell it hurt Seve Ballesteros. He still wanted to play."

Ballesteros, whose passionate if eccentric leadership inspired Europe in his home country of Spain, has ruled himself out as skipper in 1999, as has German Bernard Langer.

'Monty', whose wife Eimear is expecting their third child in May, wants a system where the likes of Torrance and James could try to qualify as a player, but if they didn't could then take on the reins of the captaincy.

Montgomerie sees himself taking on the role in around eight years, but could have a rival for the captaincy when Ireland stages the event in 2005 in the form of Ian Woosnam.

The Welshman was also part of the successful side at Valderrama but was highly critical of Ballesteros.

"To win any Ryder Cup is an unforgettable experience," said Woosnam. "I believe I still have a lot to offer as a player but would love to captain the Europeans in the future, ideally in Ireland in 2005."

A more immediate aim for Montgomerie, meanwhile, is to lose his tag as the 'best golfer never to win a Major'.

And at 34, having just won his fifth successive European Order of Merit, he maintains he has finally come to terms with his reputation as the man with the shortest fuse in golf.

"I'm learning the hard way that nobody has played the perfect game of golf yet and know I never will," said Montgomerie, who will split his time almost equally between the European and US tours next year.

"Nowadays, if I miss a putt, I miss one. We're all human and I know I can possibly win a Major with 90% of my game. Players have won Majors making mistakes. I can three-putt a green and win a Major. I almost have done.

"I used to get upset with myself as I knew I could do better. I just have to accept the bad with the good, and I am doing as I get older."

1997 Press Association