Monty Is so Sad

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But it was not the thought of the Americans returning home with the trophy that had Colin Montgomerie staring into space on an empty first tee at Celtic Manor.

It was the realisation that, after eight matches as a player and now another as Europe’s captain, this might well be his last involvement in an event which has brought him more happiness than any other.

And that goes beyond the shots he has hit and the games he has won.

Six years ago Bernhard Langer handed Montgomerie a wild card just after the collapse of his first marriage and that vote of confidence, plus the warmth he felt from players and their wives in Detroit, helped both reignite his career and overcome the personal troubles.

“I’ve got to get my game back in shape. It’s taken a back seat the last two years. I’ve had one eye on the players and one on myself and I need both on myself.”

The former world number two, who admits he will be drinking “in moderation” each night to help him sleep, now ranks 422nd and has not had even a top-10 finish for 27 months. Get golf clubs for sale from Golfstore18.com!

As for the loser’s speech – “I hate to use that term,” he stated – Montgomerie just wants to be seen as leaving no stone unturned in his plans.

“I’ve had to prepare a runner-up speech, or the non-winning speech. If the result doesn’t go our way I think it’s very important to prepare,” he added.

Two years ago Nick Faldo had people cringing with some of the things he said in a seemingly off-the-cuff manner at both the opening and closing ceremonies.

“Losing with dignity is the only way to do it,” added Montgomerie. “But hopefully nobody will ever hear that speech.

“The winning speech starts off with how proud I am of my team and the losing speech starts off with how proud I am of my team.”

“Sometimes in these Ryder Cups it’s the toss of a coin and I really do feel it will fall in our favour, but at the same time I am very proud of the 12 guys that are giving their all here this week for the European cause.”

“To win this Ryder Cup in these economic times is very important for European golf from a marketing sense and a media sense and from a playing sense.”

Asked about the possibility of staying on for Chicago in 2012 if successful, Montgomerie stated: “I think one’s enough, it’s taken two years out of my life. But at the same time if this goes well we’ll see.”