Euro Ryder Cup team gives Monty, Celtic Manor the proverbial finger
If there’s one thing you never want when you’re playing a team sports, it’s dissension in the ranks. One player (or a couple of players) can essentially kill off any momentum a team may have if they decide to go against the grain of the coach and the rest of the players. It’s part of the reason why Red Auerbach’s 1960’s Boston Celtics were so successful; it’s because they were always moving towards a singular goal as a team.
Colin Montgomerie may want to consider reading Auerbach’s book, Let Me Tell You a Story : A Lifetime in the Game, because it could really help him with his current conundrum. Because like it or not, there could be a fractured European Ryder Cup team coming to Celtic Manor later this year.
The Guardian’s Lawrence Donegan wrote a telling piece on the relationship that’s emerging between European captain Colin Montgomerie, the European squad, and the host course, Celtic Manor.
The issue of contention circles around some comments Monty made last year regarding his subtle request for players to consider playing at Celtic Manor, site of the European Tour’s Wales Open, in preparation for the Ryder Cup later this year.
“I can’t insist,” the European captain said last year when asked if he would make a Welsh Open appearance mandatory for anyone hoping to play in the team he will captain against Corey Pavin’s squad this October. “But I am sure I will get a number to say ‘yes’ and I would expect those potential Ryder Cup players to be playing.”
Since last year’s comments, a total of 2 players from the 2008 Ryder Cup squad — Graeme McDowell and Oliver Wilson — have confirmed they’ll be playing in the event. Sergio Garcia, Paul Casey, Rory McIlroy, Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood won’t be playing in the event. And Donegan notes that Martin Kaymer and Padraig Harrington are still on the fence at the moment.
While many could attribute the lack of interest to the date of the event (it’s played during the week of the Memorial, and comes just two weeks prior to the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach), some believe there’s more to the story.
“A lot of players are not big fans of the Celtic Manor golf course,” said one player’s agent last night when asked to explain the poor turn-out, while Andrew Chandler, who represents Westwood and McIlroy, blamed the European Tour for scheduling the Wales event two weeks after its flagship tournament, the BMW Championship at Wentworth.
“It was obvious to most people, but apparently not the European Tour, that if they had run the two events in consecutive weeks the turnout would have been much better. My guess is they would have got at least half the team to come,” he said.
So are we blaming it on the European Tour’s inability to schedule tournaments, or players’ lack of excitement when it comes to the course? Not only that, one would have to assume that Monty’s request to play the event has fallen on deaf ears.
Whether that’s strictly a scheduling conflict or the players’ way of ignoring the captain remains to be seen. At the moment I think it could be a little of both.