NEWPORT, Wales – Colin Montgomerie spent Tuesday afternoon reading to schoolchildren in the Newport public library. Today, he indulged in fiction of his own making.
Another Colin Montgomerie news conference, another chat that brings more questions than answers.
Montgomerie thrilled the kids with tales of Harry Potter when he read from J.K. Rowling’s “The Philosopher’s Stone.’’ Even Rowling would struggle to write the sort of fiction Monty can create.
The man gives the impression that he is in complete control. Yet underneath, it’s hard not to leave one of his news conferences with the impression he’s making things up as he goes along.
Montgomerie spent 45 minutes answering questions on the Ryder Cup here on the eve of the Celtic Manor Wales Open. Initially he gave the impression he would not consider someone for one of his three wild-card picks who does not play in the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles, the last counting event for European Ryder Cup points.
The only problem with making that stipulation is that the Johnnie Walker clashes with The Barclays on the PGA Tour, the first counting event in the FedEx Cup playoffs.
Ian Poulter, Paul Casey, Sergio Garcia, Justin Rose, Padraig Harrington, Luke Donald, Lee Westwood, Rory McIlroy and Henrik Stenson are among the Ryder Cup contenders now playing on the PGA Tour. It’s hard to imagine they will skip the first event of the lucrative playoff schedule to push for a Ryder Cup place.
Yet Monty seemed to indicate that it was Gleneagles or no wild-card pick.
“The Johnnie Walker Championship is a given,” Montgomerie said. “Number 6 through number 25 are going to participate at the Johnnie Walker Championship.”
As seasoned Monty watchers, we are used to raising our eyebrows at Monty’s pronouncements. This statement did just that. No wonder it brooked around a half a dozen questions from the floor from journalists seeking clarification, and took up more time than needed.
Of course, as with many Monty pronouncements, it turned out to be nothing more than fiction. He later clarified his real position on the matter rather than the one he’d written on the spot.
“It doesn’t rule them out, but I will be very surprised if they didn’t show up at Gleneagles.”
So there we have it. Monty’s position is no different to Nick Faldo’s two years ago when he chose Paul Casey and Ian Poulter as his wild cards, even though neither played at Gleneagles.
It’s no shock that Monty is treating the Ryder Cup the same way he’s approached many other things. There’s always a degree of fictionalization with the man from Troon.
After all, he’s the guy who once claimed he was going to climb Mount Everest. Can you imagine the oxygen he’d need to reach the top of the world?
He once said he was going to cut out huge breakfasts in order to lose weight. He made this statement after eating enough breakfast food to feed a family of six. I know – I watched him eat said breakfast a few hours before he made his statement.
Another time he said he was working on a six-pack stomach to alleviate back pain. Given the spare tire he now sports around his waist – those sweater vests are not for style, you know – he looks like he meant a 24-pack!
There will be many other Monty moments in the next four months. It’s one of the reasons he gets so much press coverage. You never know what’s going to come out when Monty opens his mouth.
Too bad he didn’t consider fiction instead of golf. J.K. Rowling wouldn’t have had a chance!