Colin Montgomerie Is Now the Front-Runner for European Ryder Cup Team Captain

Michael FitzpatrickFeatured ColumnistJanuary 17, 2009

After their first defeat in nearly a decade, the European Ryder Cup team is anxious to get back to their winning ways at Celtic Manor in 2010. 


The European team was originally scheduled to announce their choice for the 2010 captain back in September have still yet to officially name a captain for their 2010 squad.


Some believe that the delay is mostly due to Jose Maria Olazabal inability to decide whether he would like to captain the team or try to play his way onto one more Ryder Cup team.


Others believe that the pickings are so slim for the 2010 captaincy that the European Players Committee has simply been unable to choose thus far.


The original rumors pointed to the selection of either Ian Woosnan, who captained the victorious European Ryder Cup team at the K-Club in 2006, or two-time major winner Sandy Lyle of Scotland.


However, there is now a new front-runner for team captain who literally came out of nowhere: Colin Montgomerie. 


Monty, as he is known, was one of the greatest European Ryder Cup players in history.  His 23.5 career Ryder Cup points lands him third on the list of most European Ryder Cup points earned behind only Nick Faldo and Bernhard Langer.  


Having never won a major despite being arguably the best iron player in the world for the better part of a decade, the intense Ryder Cup pressure was virtually the only pressure Monty was able to thrive under during his career.


Much of what goes into being a great Ryder Cup captain has to do with personality and charisma, two traits that Monty has some serious deficiencies in.


Plain and simple, Monty is and always has been one of the most disliked players on the PGA and European tours. 


He is known as a grumpy man who rarely cracks a smile and seems to genuinely despise his galleries despite all of their continual efforts to support him over the years.


After a shocking loss to the Americans back in September at Valhalla, the European team is looking to get back on track, which is why it is utterly surprising that Monty is now in the front-runner for the 2010 captaincy.


Is a grumpy, moody man who rarely smiles or associates with anyone really the right man to rebuild European team unity and confidence in 2010? 


Will Monty have even a remote chance to use his personality to get the European crowd fired up in Celtic Manor?


The Ryder Cup pressure is regarded as some of the most intense pressure in all the game and the brunt of this pressure typically falls upon the captain as he is responsible for choosing the pairings and spending three straight days explaining and defending those pairings.


Six-time major winner Nick Faldo was clearly affected by the intense pressure at the 2008 Ryder Cup in Valhalla. 


Monty has rarely been able to handle pressure on the golf course and has always been somewhat of a misfit in terms of dealing with the fans and media off the course – probably not the best combination of qualities for a Ryder Cup team captain to posses.


One thing is for sure, US Team Captain Corey Pavin, who is faced with the monstrous task of trying to fill Paul Azinger’s shoes, can breathe a little easier if the European Players Committee does indeed select Monty over Woosnan and Olazabal.