The Sunday Post (Inverness)
Some Strait talking from Monty
Colin Montgomerie is backing Padraig Harrington’s bid for Ryder Cup captaincy at Whistling Straits in 2020. Monty believes that the Irishman is the natural successor to Thomas Bjorn after claiming: “Economically, the Ryder Cup is huge for the European Tour and Padraig deserves it.
“He’s about the right age, he’s still on tour, and he’s got the respect of his fellow players, which is vital.” But while the outspoken Scot will be happy to see the 47-year-old three-time major winner lead Europe’s defence of the trophy a decade after he succeeded in the role at Celtic Manor, Monty has other issues on his mind. Principal among them is the ethics behind the recent winner-take-all Las Vegas money-match between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.
Monty criticised Mickelson for failing to donate his $9-million winner’s cheque to charity after describing the amount of money involved as “obscene”.
He also questioned the value of the pay-per-view exchange, claiming: “Had it happened 10 years ago, when they were ranked one and two in the world, it would have been more appropriate.
“It was an event made for TV and I think eventually the last hour was okay because it was quite close. But up until then I wasn’t quite into it. “The amount of money
involved was also obscene when there are other issues in the world, so I would have loved the winner to have announced that they were giving the cash to charity.
“Also, as someone who is not a gambler, or a supporter of gambling, I was disappointed that they were having side bets for monies that were more than our Prime Minister earns. It doesn’t seem right.
“We used to have an event like this, Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf. But that was fun, everybody enjoyed themselves and then went home without the gambling situation.”
The former eight-time European No.1 was commenting during a visit to his homeland to open a Maggie’s Centre at Edinburgh’s Western General Hospital.
He also took time out to meet up with fellow Aberdeen Standard Investments golf ambassador Catriona Matthew and offer his services to the Solheim Cup captain ahead of next year’s match at Gleneagles.
But Monty stressed: “She would have to come to me. All she has to do is pick up the phone.
“I have already said to Catriona that the match being in Scotland with a Scot as captain, I would be willing to help in any way possible, with my thoughts on the course, for example.
“I obviously have a lot of experience, having being involved in nine Ryder Cups. So if she’s got some questions, fire away, please. But I don’t want to get in the way.”
Monty also expressed the view that Matthew has already made a significant move by persuading Dame Laura Davies to be one of her vice-captains.
He added: “I think having Laura on board is a real coup. She will give Catriona added confidence and that’s one of the important aspects of captaincy.”