I understand the idea behind Bernhard Langer picking Colin Montgomerie for the European 2004 Ryder Cup team. The thought is that with so many younger or rookie players, you want to look for someone who provides leadership and a steady game. But, speaking as an American who obviously doesn't have the same access to the European Tour as Mr. Langer, I have to wonder: why Monty?
Yes, Monty was lights-out in 2002, and his Ryder Cup record is impressive. As an all-around player, Monty was one of the world's best. Was.
When was the last time Monty won a tournament, much less a major? I know that match play is a completely different game, but right now Monty's far from the top of his game. He was nine-over at the PGA Championship and followed that with a ten-over in Akron the following week. He was plus-two (finishing 25th) at the British and missed the cut at the Masters.
Last week was better, where Monty shot sixteen-under to tie for third with the likes of Paul Casey, and surrounded by Ryder Cup teammates Sergio Garcia, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Darren Clarke, Lee Westwood and Paul Casey. But does his finish in this one event justify his inclusion on the Ryder Cup team?
Personally, I don't think so. There are several other players I expected Langer to pick first - Alex Cejka and Joakim Haeggman among them, and Thomas Bjorn if Langer wanted the older, more stable guidance on the team.
I hope for Langer's sake - and for the sake of a good Ryder Cup - that Monty brings the game he had at the BMW International Open instead of the one he's had the rest of the year. But, if I had the money to bet, it wouldn't be on Monty.