Scottish Ryder Cup hero Colin Montgomerie has announced that he will return to the £1.5million Celtic Manor Wales Open in 2006. The 2005 European Tour Order of Merit champion will play in the tournament for the fourth successive year.
One of international golf’s most popular figures, the Scot is eager to play at the host venue for The 2010 Ryder Cup, for which he is being widely tipped as a contender for the captaincy of The European Team. With the 2006 event at The K Club looming ever closer, earning valuable Ryder Cup qualification points will also be an attraction for the leading European players.
Colin Montgomerie said: "I’ve always enjoyed my visits to The Celtic Manor Resort. The facilities are superb and the developments that I’ve seen over past couple of years there auger well for The Ryder Cup in 2010.
"With this year’s Ryder Cup not too far away there are a lot of players on Tour who will be trying to put in strong performances at tournaments like The Celtic Manor Wales Open in order to be in with a chance of a berth at The K Club. Although I’ve had some fantastic results over the past year and this has taken me to the top of the European points list, I know that I have to keep performing to guarantee my position”.
Montgomerie’s superb run of form since he finished as runner-up to Tiger Woods at The Open Championship at St Andrews last July has meant that he will be seeking to consolidate his place at the top of The European Ryder Cup points list as he tees off at The Celtic Manor Wales Open. Having started 2005 in 83rd place in the Official World Golf Rankings, Montgomerie finished the year ranked 15th in the world.
Winning the dunhill links championship at the same venue in September of 2005 put Colin well on the way to earning a record eighth European Tour Order of Merit and he also claimed a third place finish in the WGC - American Express Championship. He has already won on The 2006 European Tour international schedule with victory in the UBS Hong Kong Open. Colin also made a winning visit to The Celtic Manor Resort last August as he skippered the European team to victory over the United States to lift the inaugural celebrity All*Star Cup.
Once again, this year’s tournament will be played on the resort’s Roman Road course, as preparations for the new course, on which The 2010 Ryder Cup will be played, continue apace. Jon Phelps, Vice President of Marketing and Strategy at The Celtic Manor Resort and Tournament Director of The Celtic Manor Wales Open, said: "We are naturally delighted to confirm that Colin Montgomerie will return to participate in 2006 The Celtic Manor Wales Open. Colin is clearly one of the most successful golfers ever to play on the European Tour and, as a result, our galleries have always given him fantastic support. We’re hoping that, once again, Colin’s presence, along with the other top class players that will take part in the tournament, will help us attract around 50,000 spectators over the four days of the event”.