Colin Montgomerie plays down Ryder Cup "exhibition" comments
European Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie refused to be drawn into a war of words with Rory McIlroy on Wednesday after the youngster called the biennial clash with the U.S. an “exhibition”.
“The Ryder Cup, it’s a great spectacle but an exhibition at the end of the day,” the 20-year-old McIlroy told reporters on the eve of the Irish Open. “It’s not that important an event for me.”
The young Northern Irishman, 19th on the world rankings and likely to make his Ryder Cup debut in Wales next year, added: “Golf is an individual sport and my individual goals are to win tournaments for myself.”
While Montgomerie disagreed with McIlroy, who he will partner in the first two rounds here, he played down the issue.
“Rory will understand when, and it’s not an ‘if’, the pressures involved and the whole scenario of the Ryder Cup will hit him hard,” said the Scot.
“The Ryder Cup is not an exhibition. But please don’t say that Monty and Rory are having a war here.
“He’s a great player, a very exciting player and one of Europe’s best young talents. All I’m saying is the Ryder Cup is not an exhibition and never will be.”
Montgomerie also spoke about Tuesday’s European Tour tournament committee decision to increase the amount of Ryder Cup wildcard picks from two to three in a bid to wrest the trophy back from the U.S.
“I’m not saying it’s going to be easier, the easy option would be (for all) 12 players to qualify (automatically),” Montgomerie said. “The more picks you have the more difficult it can be but I’m not too worried about the difficulty. “I’m just concerned about getting the strongest team available to me and having one more option might just allow me to do that.
“I didn’t ask for more than three picks. I asked for an opportunity to change the qualifying process for the Ryder Cup and I suppose I succeeded in my wish. I got what I wanted.” Montgomerie said if he had been captain last year and had three picks he would have chosen Darren Clarke as one.
“I felt sorry for Darren,” said the Scot. “He was so unlucky to miss out.”
May 14, 2009