NEWPORT, Wales (AP) — European Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie believes Tiger Woods’ perfect performance in the Presidents Cup will make his own team’s task harder at the Ryder Cup.
Woods, who missed the U.S. win at the Ryder Cup last year because of knee surgery, made the clinching putt for a 19 1/2-14 1/2 win Sunday over an International team in San Francisco.
“He seems to have his team game down as well as his individual one now,” Montgomerie said at a news conference at Celtic Manor with U.S. Ryder Cup captain Corey Pavin.
“Five points out of five. There’s never been a European who has ever achieved that feat in Ryder Cup play. This will be difficult enough to try and regain the Ryder Cup without Tiger Woods (on the American team) never mind if he’s back to his top form and winning five points out of five. It makes our job even tougher.”
Appointed in February, Montgomerie needs to turn around a European team outplayed 16 1/2 to 11 1/2 at Valhalla last year.
“So we have to counteract that by playing as well we can against him and also the other 11 players on the team,” Montgomerie said. “But I think it makes it, I hate to say it in front of Corey Pavin and our American friends, but it makes it a better win if we can regain the Ryder Cup with Tiger Woods in it.”
Woods and Steve Stricker won all four of their matches. But Pavin said he hadn’t yet decided whether they would be paired next year at Celtic Manor.
“It’s not safe to say,” he said. “I haven’t made any pairings yet and you have to assume that both Tiger and Steve Stricker both made the team as well. They are both in tremendous form right now. If you put two players together who are playing well, they are going to be a tough team to beat.”
Unbeaten in singles matches, Montgomerie has played in eight Ryder Cups and been on five winning teams. He and Pavin, who played in three, are considered two of the most competitive team players.
“We were friends before we were made captains of our respective Ryder Cup teams and will remain so. Of course, this is not an exhibition match,” Montgomerie said. “So this is a highly competitive competition and, the more competitive it is and the more passion that is brought to it, it just fuels people watching and viewing the Ryder Cup. But it’s not OK to cheer for a missed putt and never has been and never will be.”
The rival captains played nine holes of a course that has changed considerably in the last few years.
Organizers weren’t happy with the original layout, saying it was too strenuous for thousands of fans to climb up and down the course. Nine new holes were constructed, 1-5, 14, 16-18. The 18th tee now has a spectacular panoramic view of the course and the rolling hills in the background.