Ryder Cup LogoRyder Cup: Team USASeptember 22-24 2006, The K Club, Straffan, County Kildare, Ireland
Story Image Colin Montgomerie of Europe smiles on the practice range during the first official practice day of the 2006 Ryder Cup at The K Club on September 19, 2006 in Straffan, Co. Kildare, Ireland

The Talisman Returns

Colin Montgomerie has been identified by Stewart Cink as the man the US Ryder Cup Team believe they have to topple if they want to take The Ryder Cup back across the Atlantic

Michael Gibbons, Press Officer
19 September 2006

Is there anything left to say about Colin Montgomerie when it comes to The Ryder Cup?

Of the 12 men that make up Ian Woosnam’s powerful squad for this week’s Battle Royale with the USA, it is difficult to escape the notion that Montgomerie is Europe’s Talisman. That feeling was summed up perfectly by the USA’s Stewart Cink on Tuesday afternoon when he identified Montgomerie as the man the American Team want to beat most of all.

Cink and his team mates believe that if they can topple Montgomerie they can take The Ryder Cup back across the Atlantic for the first time since 1999.

For all the compliments that Montgomerie receives from fans, the media and his own Team, there is an extra significance in Cink’s observation as it comes directly from the opposing side. In many ways, it is the highest praise any Ryder Cup player can receive.

The Scotsman’s record of 17½ points in his nine appearances, which makes him the 2006 European Team’s highest points scorer, and, indeed, the sixth most successful player in the history of the event, elevates Montgomerie to that Talismanic level and is the reason that the USA are desperate to derail the 43 year old at The K Club this week.

”If I had to pick one player out who has been their most outstanding Ryder Cupper over the last decade, it's been Colin Montgomerie,” said Cink.

“I think you probably have to say that Monty is the guy that's been around the longest and he's put a dent in our number of points over the years. He's played really well in The Ryder Cup I think that's where he shines the most.”

If Montgomerie can shine once more at The Ryder Cup this week he has the opportunity to become the most prolific point scorer in Ryder Cup history. He needs to win a Herculean four points out of five to overtake Nick Faldo as the event’s all-time leading player, but if there is anyone in the European Team likely to do that, it is Montgomerie.

Time and time again Montgomerie has been an inspiration to all in the European Team, with the last Ryder Cup being the best example of them all. Two years ago the Scot had to rely on one of Bernhard Langer’s Wild Cards to guarantee a seat on the plane to Oakland Hills Country Club.

At that time, Montgomerie was suffering from loss of form and confidence both on and off the golf course, but he justified Langer’s trust with a classic Monty performance, winning three points from the four matches he contested, and memorably holing the winning putt as Europe strode to a record breaking 18½ - 9½ victory.

“That selection by Bernhard Langer two years ago was, I think, vital for my career,” said Montgomerie. “I was 41 at the time and it was not looking good. The last few years were not good, both on and off the course, and it wasn't good at all. That pick that I had two years ago I believe saved me in many, many ways.

“”What happened two years ago was fate. Out of the 24 guys that were playing, one of them was going to hole the winning putt, or have the opportunity to hole the winning putt and on this occasion, fate played its part and it was me who was given the opportunity to hole the winning putt and I took it. God knows how, but I did.

“It did rejuvenate me and my career and went on to win the Order of Merit again the following year. I think that helped me qualify for this team. It was a very, very important captain's pick, one of the most important ones for someone's career that there's ever been, I'm sure.”

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