Colin Montgomerie plans to focus on his own game this week at the KLM Open after being inspired by his European colleagues at last week’s US PGA Championship.
Ryder Cup Captain Montgomerie predicted that “four or five” of his potential side at The Celtic Manor Wales Resort next year could finish in the top ten at Hazeltine last week, so was delighted to see eight Europeans finish in the top ten.
That was the best ever showing by Europeans in a US Major, but Montgomerie missed the cut and has targeted a top ten finish of his own at Kennemer Golf and Country Club.
“This course does suit me,” said Montgomerie. “I knew the course [Hazeltine] wouldn’t suit me when I played it on Tuesday and Wednesday. So I didn’t let it affect my confidence, but I need to start picking up my results, because I haven’t had a top ten in 13 or 14 months. So a top ten here would be great, and then hopefully we can build on that.
“I’m down in about 90th place [on The Race to Dubai] at the moment, so that’s no use to anyone. My lowest ever finish in The Order of Merit was 27th last year, and I’m obviously well down on that at the moment. So I’ve got to climb 30 spaces in a hurry.”
Qualifying for next year's match in Wales starts in two weeks and Montgomerie's confidence has just been given a huge boost.
Lee Westwood and Rory McIlroy shared third place, Martin Kaymer, Henrik Stenson and Søren Kjeldsen were joint sixth and Padraig Harrington, Graeme McDowell and Francesco Molinari tied for tenth.
"I think that's our best ever performance in an American Major and that should help us to go on and have more Major champions," said the Scot.
McIlroy is 20 and new Race to Dubai leader Kaymer is 24, while Montgomerie has also been impressed by 26 year old Spaniard Alvaro Quiros, now firmly established as the biggest hitter on either side of the Atlantic.
"I remember in 1999 that Sergio Garcia (19 at the time) was fearless going into The Ryder Cup and if McIlroy, Kaymer and Quiros make the team I envisage the same thing.
"I want a team that not in any way, shape or form has any fear of the Americans."
Montgomerie looks forward to seeing how they react to the pressure of playing for Cup points, but this week has his focus firmly on trying to re-ignite his own career.
Darren Clarke, another without a top ten finish this season and another who missed the cut last week, is the defending champion.
“You always enjoy coming back to a course where you’ve played well before,” he said.
“I had a great week here last year. I had my two boys with me, I played very nicely, and I managed to win the tournament. So it couldn’t have gone much better really.”