THE man who suggested that Colin Montgomerie should be Europe’s Ryder Cup captain three years ago, insists there is no reason why the Scot shouldn’t be asked to fill the role again at Gleneagles in 2014.
Henrik Stenson stood up at a European Tour tournament committee meeting in Abu Dhabi in 2009 and said he felt Montgomerie was the man for the job at Celtic Manor instead of waiting for him to get it in Scotland.
Next Tuesday, back in the UAE capital, Stenson will once again be part of the group choosing Jose Maria Olazabal’s successor and he sees no reason why Montgomerie shouldn’t be considered along with Paul McGinley and Darren Clarke.
“The Ryder Cup is hugely important to the players, to the captain and to the European Tour, so we still have to try and pick the best man to get behind the wheel,” Stenson told The Scotsman.
“We will have to see what the committee thinks about the possible candidates. There is a lot of thinking to be done next week and it seems the meeting could be a little more trickier this time around.”
Montgomerie described Stenson’s intervention at the 2009 meeting as a “bolt from the blue” as it had been felt Sandy Lyle had been earmarked for the job at Celtic Manor.
The Swede said he didn’t necessarily have another “surprise” up his sleeve for next week but added: “There will be a few guys who we will choose from and maybe one of the players who have been in the discussion leading up to the meeting might not want to be captain this time around.”
If that was a reference to either Clarke or McGinley, then it is more likely to be the former as the 2011 Open champion has already said he’d prefer to play in the match in Pertshire.
Asked specifically about Montgomerie, Stenson added: “No-one would question his passion for the Ryder Cup and the effort he put into the captaincy in 2010 and I am sure he would do the same and maybe more this time around if he was to be asked. So that might be a possible scenario.”
“I’d prefer to keep what I’d like to see happen to myself but there may have been some information in the last couple of days that we might consider it differently, so I still think it’s more open.
“It’s going to be a difficult decision as it is a very important position and you have to have the best man for the job, whether it be someone who’s been captain before or deserves it for their contribution to the European Tour and the Ryder Cup.”
The fear for those favouring McGinley for the job is that he’s unlikely to get another chance if he misses out this time around.
“Whether Gleneagles is Paul’s only chance, I am not too sure,” said Stenson. “But sometimes we have five candidates for two Ryder Cups or we have two candidates for one Ryder Cup or something like that. It depends on where that player is at that stage of his career.
“Even if you’ve been a vice-captain it’s important you accept that reward and not be disappointed if you then are not appointed a captain. I don’t think Paul should feel extremely bad if he was not appointed.
“On the plus side for Paul, he has done all that prep work as a vice captain and at the Seve Trophy (as a winning captain). But, at the end of the day, if it’s not your turn you have to accept the committee’s decision.”.