'You don't sleep at night thinking about the first shot'August 17, 2018 The Scoop
Few Europeans know more about what’s required to win a Ryder Cup than Colin Montgomerie. Steve Carroll asked the winning captain at Celtic Manor about his keys to victory
You had to make very difficult decisions. Not just during the matches but before as well. You left out Paul Casey, for example?
I had to leave out guys that were ranked very highly in the world. I had to leave out guys I didn’t want to. You’ve only got that particular choice. Thomas, this year, has got four choices which is what most of us wanted.
I got three, Olazabal only got two. This isn’t many. It’s difficult because you have got four or five guys that feel, and we all feel in that position, ‘well I should be playing’.
But it’s the captain’s opinion as to who’s going to play with who, who fits into the team better than someone else might. It’s not easy and you are always going to, unfortunately, upset someone.
What things do you have to think about when you are trying to put together those 12 men?
I’m trying to think about pairings, I’m trying to think about singles, I’m trying to think about the team room, I’m trying to think about all sorts of things that go on. It’s not easy. I don’t envy any captain coming up, including Thomas, to try and make that decision. You are playing against the might of America. They are no mugs. You’ve got to get it right, because you only do it once now and you’ve got to get it right.
There’s a move recently to play down the role of the Ryder Cup captain and what he does. How important is the skipper and his influence?
At the end of the day, I tend to agree. It’s up to the 12 players to play the best they can. But in saying that, how do we get those 12 to play the best they can? They’ve got to be managed properly. So it is a bit of both. Yes, it is up to the players but are they managed, are they set up, are they prepared to do what they have to do? That’s up to the management.
We’ve got Molinari and Fleetwood leading us out. Who is bringing it home for Europe in the singles?
Who is the 12th man in the singles? I would say nowadays: Justin Rose. I’d put Rose number 12. There’s no dispute. I think he’s Europe’s best player, most consistent player and major player and I think you want that at the back of the field.
So I would go out last with Justin Rose.
More on the Ryder Cup
Colin Montgomerie was speaking to NCG at the 2018 Berenberg Gary Player Invitational at Wentworth