Monty faces tough job in selecting wild cards
Will Colin Montgomerie live up to his word?
That question will be answered in just over a week, when the European Ryder Cup captain names his three wild-card picks for the match at Celtic Manor.
Montgomerie painted himself into a corner back in June when he said he would look favorably upon those who were loyal to the European Tour. Well, it’s soon going to be crunch time, and Monty’s going to have to reveal if he’s a man of his word.
Montgomerie is good at saying one thing and doing another. He’s made a career out of it. After all, this is the man who once promised us a six-pack stomach to cure his chronic bad back. He’s the man who said he was planning on climbing Everest. If my memory serves me right, he was also going to sail around the world at one time.
If the Scotsman is true to his Ryder Cup word, then three of the following will comprise his wild-card picks: Simon Dyson, Ross McGowan, Peter Hanson and Edoardo Molinari. If Monty was being honest, then they will get preference over Padraig Harrington, Luke Donald, Justin Rose and possibly Paul Casey. The first four have shown undying loyalty to the European Tour.
Dyson, McGowan and Hanson are pulling out all the stops to make the Ryder Cup team. They are following Monty’s lead. All three made the arduous trip from Wisconsin to the Czech Republic after the PGA Championship to play in the Czech Open. They will join Molinari in Scotland next week to play in the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles, the last counting event toward European team selection.
Montgomerie said back in June that he expected all potential wild-card candidates to play at Gleneagles. Guess what? That’s not going to happen. Harrington, Donald, Rose and Casey almost certainly will be at Ridgewood Country Club, in Paramus, N.J., next week for The Barclays, the first counting event in the FedEx Cup series.
Donald was the only one of that quartet to answer Monty’s call to play in the Wales Open at Celtic Manor in June. Dyson, McGowan and Molinari all played at Celtic Manor. In fact, they and Hanson have played a full European Tour schedule.
The same can’t be said for Harrington and Co.
Take away the U.S. majors and WGC events that count on both tours, and Harrington and Rose have played in only three European Tour events this year. Donald has played in five, while Casey can list six.
Monty might have talked the good talk to appease the European Tour, but he isn’t about to back such talk with actions if it means losing the Ryder Cup. Given a choice of Dyson and Co. or the quality of the Harrington quartet, well, no offense, but the choice is obvious. He’s going to go with quality over loyalty.
Should be interesting hearing him justify his selections on Aug. 29.