ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) – A day after missing out on Europe's Ryder Cup captaincy, Colin Montgomerie says he's not bitter and is fully behind the choice of Paul McGinley.
Montgomerie, the winning 2010 captain, emerged as a late candidate after Darren Clarke pulled out of contention for the job, preferring to concentrate on his own game. But the 49-year-old Scotsman was opposed by several players, most notably No. 1-ranked Rory McIlroy, who felt Montgomerie wouldn't be motivated to win a second Ryder Cup.
Speaking ahead of the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, Montgomerie said he was “flattered'' to be considered and said he didn't campaign for the job.
“I wasn't in the picture until a week before Christmas when I heard of others that felt there was an opportunity for me to captain the team at home in Scotland, which would have been a dream come true,'' Montgomerie said. “It hasn't happened. … I haven't pressed this in any way so I was flattered in many ways to be in that position.''
Asked if he was bitter about not being chosen, the Scotsman said, “goodness no, nothing to do with that at all.''
Montgomerie said that McGinley was “definitely'' the right man for the job.
“He was voted upon by the committee who run this tour,'' Montgomerie said. “As a man manager, he is very good and thorough. Preparation is what is required. He will do a very good job.''
Along with his 2010 captaincy, Montgomerie represented Europe eight times as a player, becoming in 2006 the second European to win the contest five times. He was top scorer at The Belfry in 2002 with 4 1/2 points out of five, and holed the winning putt at Oakland Hills in 2004.
The fifth-ranked Justin Rose, also playing in Abu Dhabi, said he felt the push for Montgomerie didn't make sense. He backed both Clarke and McGinley and was firmly behind the 46-year-old Irishman once Clarke withdrew.
“Monty came into the picture to combat the big name of (U.S. captain) Tom Watson, and I felt like maybe that's something that the European Team didn't need to do,'' Rose said. “I felt like we have a pretty good thing going right now in the Ryder Cup and there was no need to counter the U.S. decision.''
He also echoed other players in saying that McGinley would be a perfect leader in 2014. McGinley has been on three Ryder Cup-winning teams – holing the 10-foot winning putt in his Ryder Cup debut at The Belfry in 2002. He was also vice-captain for Europe in 2010 and for the improbable comeback win last year at Medinah.
“I've only ever been around Paul, really, in The Ryder Cup. I haven't been around Monty in The Ryder Cup,'' Rose said. “So that was for me what I was judging my decision on. And I felt I had quite a lot of conversations with Paul at Medinah. Just thought that he went about things very thoroughly. And tactically, I believe that he'll make some very good decisions.''
McGinley also got a vote of confidence from Tiger Woods, who will likely be on the American team when the two sides meet at Gleneagles, Scotland.
“He's going to make a great European Ryder Cup captain as I've seen for myself how popular he is and how well he's liked by everybody,'' Woods said. “So I can see Paul being a good rival to Tom (Watson), and our American team will need to give him every respect given also he's got such a great record for Europe.''
Watson, who was chosen as United States captain last month, will be 65 when the event starts making him by far the oldest man to fill the role and the first repeat captain for the U.S. since 1987. But he's also the last American to lead the team to victory outside the U.S. – in 1993 – and he knows how to win in the blustery Scottish weather.