Euro Ryder Cup captain Nick Faldo said Tuesday that he expects Colin Montgomerie to be in the running when he selects his two captain’s picks for the team later this summer, but if I were Monty I wouldn’t buy those plane tickets to Kentucky just yet.
Sure, Faldo probably does expect Monty to play better—the Scotsman has dropped to 90th in the world ranking—but his press conference Tuesday was more notable for what Faldo didn’t say than what he did. Faldo said it was still early in the season and the key period to determine whether Montgomerie would gain one of the two wild-card selections would be the six weeks immediately after the British Open, to be held at Royal Birkdale in mid-July."It all depends where he is in that last six weeks (before the team is decided)," said Faldo, who was speaking ahead of the PGA Championship at Wentworth which starts on Thursday. "That is going to be real key for me." What Faldo didn’t say is that Monty has earned a captain's pick by being one of the best Ryder Cup players ever (unbeaten in singles, 20-9-7 overall). That remains the best, and maybe the only, reason for picking him this year. The relationship between the two men has been chilly in the past, with Faldo saying Monty skipped team meetings last year at the Seve Cup. Faldo’s remarks Tuesday appear to be an attempt to mend fences, but you can expect him to captain the Ryder Cup team the way he played: driven to win without regard for pleasantries.
In December, Monty also played nice, saying that he intended to earn his way on the team. I asked him directly if he felt he had earned a captain’s pick with his play in past Ryder Cups. He deflected the question, but I got the distinct feeling he was holding his tongue.