News November, 12th 2009 by

Colin Montgomerie to lead Europe against Asia

Colin Montgomerie

The request will renew questions over the Spaniard’s health as he continues to fight against the brain cancer that was diagnosed in October last year.

Seeking to downplay such concerns, Ballesteros said: “It is best for the players to have complete certainty as to who will lead them in this great match against Asia, and while my recovery has been very good, I am not certain that I will be ready to give our team the 110 per cent effort it deserves.

“The role of captain is complex, difficult and demanding. The Royal Trophy is very important to me. I have said many times, I believe this competition will grow into one of the world’s most important events and I do intend, subject to my health, to attend the matches in 2010.”

Ballesteros had also hoped to attend last month’s Vivendi Trophy in Paris and the

World Matchplay on Spain’s Costa del Sol, but he was too unwell to travel to either tournament.

He did speak at a press conference in Madrid where his unsteady gait, shaky voice and weak left eye shocked those present.

Ballesteros continues to undergo radiotherapy for his malignant brain tumour and wears a cap to cover the scars. But the Spaniard does not want our pity, instead he insists he is living the life of a lucky man.

On accepting the position of Europe’s Royal Trophy captain, Montgomerie said: “It will be an excellent opportunity for me to spend time with some key players who are likely to be with me at Celtic Manor in October for the Ryder Cup.”

There may not be too many of those present at the tournament in Bangkok from Jan 8-10. Henrik Stenson, Martin Kaymer and Robert Karlsson have so far accepted invitations, but the British and Irish players have been less enthusiastic.

None of the four Englishmen in the world’s top 20 or Rory McIlroy or Padraig Harrington has committed to play. They remain unlikely to do so.

Mischievous souls may reckon that Montgomerie’s acceptance of the part of playing captain could indicate that he holds a similar ambition to compete and captain at next year’s Ryder Cup.

Montgomerie said: “I’m excited about being European captain as well as representing our continent as a player”. But that was as far as he would go. The rest is sheer fantasy.

He will not play and captain at the Ryder Cup. His motivation for doing so at the Royal Trophy is simple. Monty wants to learn more about some prospective Ryder Cuppers by partnering them in foursomes and fourball. Now that is scary pressure. 

Simon Schönbeck

A serial entrepreneur and Founder of this very site.

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