Monty already makes Ryder Cup mistake

Ryder Cup Captain Colin Montgomerie watches during the first day fourball at The Vivendi Trophy.

It didn’t take Colin Montgomerie long to let his big mouth threaten European Ryder Cup team harmony, did it?

If the European Tour thought Monty’s reign as captain was going to repair the damage caused by Nick Faldo’s disastrous 2008 captaincy, then Monty’s public criticism of Poulter should prove that the Scotsman is an accident just waiting to happen.

I’m not sure what management style Montgomerie is following. Knowing how bull-headed and arrogant Monty is, he probably feels he doesn’t need to consult anyone on how to lead a team. This latest gaffe proves he needs to enroll in management 101 if he hopes to inspire his team to victory at Celtic Manor, Wales, next year.

To single out Poulter for missing this week’s Vivendi Trophy points to a deeper rift with the Englishman. How else do you explain why he named only Poulter when he could have criticized other potential 2010 Ryder Cup team members who failed to play in what was formerly the Seve Trophy?

However, more damaging to the European cause is that he has risked demotivating a potential member of his team.

Monty seems to have a pretty short memory. He forgets that Ian Poulter was Europe’s best player at last year’s Ryder Cup.

I’d have thought he’d have been going out of his way to talk Poulter up rather than tear him down.

Successful managers/coaches might criticize players in private, but they never do so in public. When have you ever heard Manchester United’s manager Sir Alex Ferguson, the most successful soccer boss in history, lambaste a player in public?

Never.

Even when his players commit the worst of tactical errors or behave abominably, Ferguson stands by his men. And for good reason. It is one thing to lay into someone behind closed doors, but to do it publicly can lead to a loss of confidence.

If Monty felt disappointed at Poulter’s absence from the GB&I team this week, then he should have picked up the phone and had a quiet word. He shouldn’t have aired his dirty laundry in public.

That’s hardly going to breed team unity.

If Monty had talked to Poulter, then he’d have realized that Poulter had a cast-iron reason for not turning up in Paris. The Englishman had his heart set on playing in this week’s Tour Championship. He can hardly be blamed for wanting some time off this week after a long summer.

There was always a danger that Monty would open his mouth and insert his large Footjoys in it. We’re talking about a player who’s let his volatile nature land him in trouble in the past.

There are few players on the European Tour with more colossal tempers than the English-bred Scot. I know from experience, as I’ve been on the end of several Monty tongue-lashings in my time. It hasn’t been a pleasant experience.

The European Tour’s tournament committee picked Monty to captain the 2010 team based on his record and his commitment to the Ryder Cup. There is no doubt that his history in the match shows he highly values the competition and badly wants to win the cup back.

However, given his volatile nature, he is an accident waiting to happen. As we’ve seen over the years, there is no greater pressure for a player than the Ryder Cup. Monty could probably start an argument on an empty golf course. Watch for the fireworks to explode should he get things wrong at Celtic Manor next year.

Finally, given Monty’s excessive baggage, he has a cheek criticizing a fellow professional.

Someone needs to enroll him in Management 101 – quickly.

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