Monty says all 12 will play The Ryder Cup hasn't always been about posturing, playing to the press, and psychological strategy, but these days it all seems to be part of the game. Exhibit A is European captain Colin Montgomerie's surprise move this week in which he made it known that all 12 members of his team will be competing on the first day of the event. For anyone not familiar with Ryder Cup tactics, this is an unusual approach, to say the least, as it allows American Captain Corey Pavin to optimize his own strategy. Why has the always interesting Monty made such a bold move? A post on sport.co.uk has an interesting take:
Following the surprise announcement, several prominent golf pundits, and even ex-captains have expressed their surprise at his premature selection for the foursomes and fourball.So is Monty simply playing games with the press? Is he trying to manipulate Pavin's strategy in some way, or just trying to confuse him? It's hard for anyone to say for sure, but when you consider that Monty has made other odd moves so far, including sound-proofing the European team room, excluding world class players like Justin Rose and Paul Casey from the squad, and making bold statements about former captain Nick Faldo's lack of passion in a losing effort, it's clear that the Scot has his own agenda, as always. Rory wants a piece of TigerThere was a solid decade or so when not too many, if any, players made a peep about challenging Tiger's dominance. Once in a while the odd comment from the likes of Rory Sabbatini or Ian Poulter came out, but typically you didn't hear a lot of, "I'm taking Tiger out." Nowadays, of course, things have changed just a bit for the world's No. 1 player, who had to be selected as a captain's pick in order to make this year's Ryder Cup team.
It is almost certain that the captain and his background staff have an ulterior motive for the announcement. At this stage, mind games always come into consideration. Previous contests have seen captains and players snipe and jibe the press with such consideration that even Sir Alex Ferguson would stand and take note.
The latest indication that Tiger's stranglehold on professional golf has slipped are comments from 21-year-old superstar and European Ryder Cup team member Rory McIlroy, who recently said, "it would be great to take someone like Tiger Woods down." McIlroy, who made a similar remark to the BBC in August, also said that he didn't care who he played against, just that he wanted to earn points for his team. "Whoever I come up against on the American side, I'll be ready for them," he said.
Is McIlroy intentionally being brash for the European press, just showing the exuberance of youth, or brazenly calling out Tiger Woods? It's hard to say, but regardless of his intentions it's clear that the newest wave of superstars aren't all that intimidated by the player they idolized as kids.