Monty retains hope for Ryder Cup wild card pick
COLIN Montgomerie made it clear yesterday he hasn't given up hope of playing in the Ryder Cup for the ninth successive match since 1991, explaining he'd opted to prepare at Gleneagles rather than compete at the SAS Masters and the KLM Open in order to knock his game into shape should Europe's captain Nick Faldo decide to offer him a wild card.
Although Monty's hopes of playing in the match now rest entirely in Faldo's hands – even if he won the Johnnie Walker over the PGA Centenary at the end of the month, it wouldn't be sufficient to claim an automatic spot – the Scot believes he can still make a significant contribution against the USA at Valhalla next month. He said: "My desire to play in the Ryder Cup is greater than ever – as I have shown in the past and in my schedule which has been geared towards qualifying – but I want now to work on my game to compete as well as I can in Scotland at the Johnnie Walker championship and to have my game to a standard that would allow me, hopefully, to perform at a level to help the team, if I'm part of it, to the requisite 14 points."
Now living in Perthshire, Monty was glad of a breather after pursuing a hectic summer schedule marred by a spell of indifferent form after he missed the cut at Loch Lomond. Although many concluded after the Scot also missed the cut at the US PGA that his chances of a captain's pick had gone, that's not how Monty assesses the situation.
"Following Detroit, I spent a few days with the family to reacquaint myself with them, having just played 11 out of the last 13 events in a quest to qualify for the team," he added. "I decided to take these two weeks off from tournament golf as, with automatic qualification now out of the question, I thought it very important to put in some serious practice time so I am ready to perform to the best of my ability should I come into the reckoning for a captain's selection.
"After these few days with my wife and family I am ready to get down to some serious hard work at Gleneagles, which is no more than 10 minutes from home so some long hours can easily be put in."
Having finished ninth at Gleneagles last year, Monty is determined to give of his best among sympathetic galleries in a final effort to catch Faldo's eye.
"I'm really looking forward to playing in the Johnnie Walker as I'm the tournament chairman and we will be playing on the PGA Centenary Course," he went on. "I always enjoy playing in Scotland in front of the knowledgeable Scottish fans and have done so to good effect in the past and, hopefully, the crowds will inspire me to a great week."
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