Captain Colin Montgomerie surveys the view of The Twenty Ten Course.
Captain Montgomerie begins his Ryder Cup quest
Colin Montgomerie has revealed that "no stone will be left unturned" in his quest to win back The Ryder Cup for Europe at The Celtic Manor Resort.
It will come as no surprise to anyone who has followed the 45 year old Scot's superb playing career that he intends to put every ounce of the famed fervour, energy and passion he showed as a Ryder Cup player into his role as Ryder Cup Captain when the contest takes place from October 1-3, 2010.
The eight time Harry Vardon Trophy winner
- and a man never beaten in eight Ryder Cup singles contests stretching back to 1991
- gave an insight into his thoughts when he, together with representatives from The Celtic Manor Resort and The European Tour, made the first official site visit to The Twenty Ten Course and clubhouse last week.
Montgomerie toured the entire complex and began the process which he hopes will ensure his 12 man Team will want for absolutely nothing come the week of the contest against the United States itself.
"I said to the Tournament Committee in Dubai when I was appointed that no stone will be left unturned to try and win back The Ryder Cup and it starts now, 18 months out. From here, everything will be put in place for a very positive campaign," said Montgomerie.
"We looked at every aspect here at Celtic Manor trying to find the best way to make my Team feel as comfortable as possible here, which will help them play at their peak. We looked at the prospective Team Rooms and Locker Rooms as well as the hotel, the clubhouse and the course, but we also looked into the clothing, golf bags, food and beverages..everything."
A large part of Montgomerie's day was spent walking every inch of the golf course and discussing the various set-up options open to him with Jim McKenzie, Golf Course and Estates Manager at The Celtic Manor Resort; Ross McMurray of European Golf Design; David Garland, Director of Tour Operations at The European Tour; and Richard Hills, European Ryder Cup Director.
Montgomerie also took time out to appreciate the many areas around the course given over to hospitality, the sales of which are now ongoing. In particular the Scot marvelled at the view from the site of one of the main corporate hospitality and sponsors area to the left of the 16th fairway.
"The view you get from here is absolutely fantastic
- the best view ever at a Ryder Cup venue," he said. "It is empty right now obviously but once you see this with 45,000 people on it, it will be some sight
- it will be one of the best views in golf.
"Even after just having had a look around today I appreciate the fact that there is an awful lot more involved behind the scenes for the Captain than I had given Captains credit for in the past and I respect them all a little bit more now even than I did before. In previous years, I have only been in front of the camera at The Ryder Cup so to speak, so it is very interesting to see what goes on behind it.
"I have been lucky enough to play under seven different Captains and I plan to take a little bit of every good aspect I have seen in each one.
"Seve was different from Bernhard Langer who was extremely different to Woosie who again, in his own way, was different to Sam Torrance. It's amazing what I've learned from each of them and I will be speaking with them over the next 18 months to ask some more behind the scenes questions, what they felt about certain things, and how they dealt with them."
Given Europe's recent superb record in The Ryder Cup prior to last year's contest at Valhalla Golf Club in Kentucky (winning five of the six contests between 1995 and 2006), it was a strange feeling for many people associated with European golf to leave Louisville last September without Sam Ryder's famous golden chalice in their hand luggage.
However, Montgomerie firmly believes he has, at his disposition, the nucleus of a squad more than capable of ensuring that American Captain Corey Pavin and his Team return to the United States on Monday October 4, 2010, empty handed.
"I am very excited about the opportunity given to me to Captain what, I believe, is the largest wealth of talent we have ever had on The European Tour. Trust me, this is a very exciting time and a fantastic time for European golf," he said.
"The core of the Team that has been formed over the past three or four Ryder Cups is still there and of course, added to that, is the fact we have a very exciting crop of young players coming through, guys like Martin Kaymer, Rory McIlroy and Alvaro Quiros who are all potential world beaters."
Although stressing he will not put any undue pressure on any possible members of his Team by asking to be paired with them in competition, Montgomerie's presence at the majority of European Tour and world events over the next 18 months means the Scot will be more than able to keep a close eye on his potential charges.
"I think one of the reasons I was voted Captain was because I am younger than the more recent ones and I am still out there playing," he said. "I regularly play about 28 or 29 events a year and I will still do that, in fact, I will probably add a couple more to my schedule. It is important that I am playing alongside the guys, I'm at the courses with them, I'm flying with them..everything."
Genuinely daunting as a Ryder Cup opponent in the past, will Montgomerie have the same "fear-factor" for the Americans outside the ropes as he did inside them? The Scot had this view on the topic.
"Of course the players have the ultimate influence on matters but if I can have a presence around which will help my Team in any way, then that will be great."
Knowing Colin Montgomerie, you just know he will have precisely that.