For all the talk of American dominance in the Ryder Cup, Europe claimed their seventh win in the last nine matches at Le Golf National. Another of those victories came in 2010 when, with a Monday finish, Colin Montgomerie led Europe to a single-point victory at Celtic Manor. Mark Townsend chatted to Monty to get his thoughts on all things Ryder Cup…
The Americans had messages on their team wall saying things like ‘Leave your egos at the door’. What do you make of that?
The first thing I said to the team in 2010, and their partners and everyone connected with the European Tour, is that every single person leaves their ego at the door. You can pick it up on Monday when you leave – which was actually the Tuesday because of the rain.
It’s a bit like going into hospital, you leave your dignity at the door and pick it up on your way out.
I had just had Martin Kaymer win the PGA Championship, Graeme McDowell had won the US Open in June, Rory McIlroy was an ego although it was his first Ryder Cup and we had the likes of Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood and Luke Donald. So there were a lot of egos swimming around and that was the way that I thought we were going to win.
That was my view about winning, nobody was better than anyone else and it was a team effort. It was all 12. You can’t now try and win it with seven players, there is too much depth on both teams so you need 12, not 11, pulling together. At the end of our week, as they did this time, everyone contributed at least half a point and that was crucial.
The whole objective was to get to 14.5, it didn’t matter who the hell did it, I wasn’t interested who did it, I was just interested that the team was doing it as a whole. I think Thomas Bjorn did a good job of that and, from the stories coming out of the American camp, they didn’t do such a good job again.
One player at the opposite end of the spectrum is Francesco Molinari. How different a player is he now to the one who was on your team as a rookie in 2010?
He’s become a world star now. Eight years ago, to be honest, I selected his brother Edoardo to help Francesco out. He hasn’t got an outgoing personality, he’s the opposite to Poulter, he might believe it but he’s not going to tell you. So I picked Edoardo as someone to confide in.
He has matured into a very special individual on and off the course. He handled himself superbly after The Open and in France and he was the star of the show along with Tommy Fleetwood.
If you were put in charge of the Task Force for a day what would you do?
I’d bring back Paul Azinger. Why can’t people do it twice? People talk about Steve Stricker being favoured as it’s in Wisconsin, but he was there in Paris so I wouldn’t say that was a great one. You have got David Toms who is a lovely fellow – and Phil Mickelson’s been talked about, my god.
I would go back to someone who had it right and it might be 12 years ago but he would do the best job of anybody. Get the thing back on track. He got the thing dead on in 2008. It went away from that in the years to come. It came back a little bit in 2016 with Davis Love but then it seemed to be player power again and that’s no good. The Mickelson-Woods thing doesn’t work in the same team, I’m convinced about that, they’re two massive egos in the team room and you don’t know what happens there but it can’t be good.
Tiger is only human and the emotion that he must have had at East Lake was even too much for him and he didn’t perform the way the way you would have like him to.
How do you handle two best mates wanting to play together as in Spieth and Thomas?
Spieth and Reed were only put together in the first place as Justin Thomas wasn’t in the team. Thomas and Spieth grew up together. It would have been like me splitting up the Molinari brothers, that wasn’t going to happen. They did very well, they were the top points scorers and won three of their four matches.
Reed was playing awful, he couldn’t hit the ball in bounds, never mind the fairway. Spieth and Thomas won both their games on Saturday so Furyk did well to keep them together.
Reed hasn’t really performed since The Masters and Spieth and Thomas were the No. 1 pairing. We’ll see them again in the years to come.
Interview continues on the next page, where Monty reveals exactly what he thought when Ian Poulter famously declared he “will deliver a point” at the 2010 Ryder Cup…