At Colin Montgomerie’s wedding last weekend, a story surfaced about the day Monty asked his bride-to-be, Gaynor Knowles, if she’d like to attend the Ryder Cup. “This Ryder Cup,” replied Knowles, who reportedly didn’t know Monty was a golfer when the two first met. “Is it a big thing?”
Cute story. But the hard truth facing Sir Monty, the most dominant Ryder Cupper of his era, is much grimmer. Winless since last July and with just two top 10s in 2008, Monty has slipped to 30th on the European Ryder Cup Points List and 47th on the European Ryder Cup World Points List (the top five from each ranking get automatic bids).
If Monty’s listless play continues, he will leave European captain Nick Faldo in a pickle: select the slumping, aging Montgomerie as one his two captain’s picks or pass on a guy who in eight straight Ryder Cup appearances is 20-9-7 with a sparkling 6-0-2 singles record.
There are a couple other delicious dynamics at work here:
First, with 23.5 career Ryder Cup points, Monty is just 1.5 points behind the all-time mark of—wait for it—Capt. Faldo. Which means if Faldo wants to preserve his record (and we can assume this is Monty’s last realistic shot at making the team as a player), Faldo’s in position to do just that.
Second, Monty and Faldo have had their moments, most recently at last fall’s Seve Trophy, where Faldo captained the Great Britain and Ireland squad. “Monty’s a tough one,” Faldo told the London Times. “He was the only one whose emotions I had to deal with. He only came to two of the five team meetings, so that was disappointing.
"Then he had to be teased out on to the 18th green to support his team. The bottom line was he hadn’t won a point."
Whatever happens, the pending episode promises more drama than a David Caruso cameo on Desperate Housewives. Monty and Faldo are both prickly, iron-willed egoists who are quick to speak their minds—and you can bet they will as Faldo prepares to announce his picks on Aug. 31.
Cue the fireworks.
(Photo: Kieran Dodds/AFP/Getty Images)