Friday, 19 March 2010
Johnnie Walker Championship - Previews  (Getty Images)
Johnnie Walker Championship - Previews (Getty Images)

Colin Montgomerie has told his European Ryder Cup hopefuls that he expects them to feature in a number of key tounaments as they fight for their places in the Team for 2010.

Montgomerie will Captain the European side at The Celtic Manor Resort and revealed he has emailed every European Tour Member to ask them to play three events next year - the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Club, The Celtic Manor Wales Open on The Twenty Ten Course and in the Johnnie Walker Championshhip at Gleneagles, which will be the final qualification event.

The Scot, who hopes to improve his own recent performances at this week’s Johnnie Walker Championships at Gleneagles, admitted he has already predicted a 12-man side before the qualification process gets under way in Switzerland next week.

“There are three particular tournaments,” said Montgomerie. “I have everyone's e-mail now. I have this facility now where I can e-mail the whole Tour and I have done on a couple of occasions already, and I will be again.

“One of those tournaments is the BMW Championship at Wentworth. I feel that every European that is qualified for that event should be playing in that BMW PGA Championship, and I will be asking for that personally in my role. The second event would be The Wales Open at Celtic Manor. I think it would do them no harm at all as a European if they win in Wales. And of course here - but I don't think I have to ask here (Gleneagles). I think this is automatic, the last event under the spotlight, and trying to get in that team anyway - I mean, eight, nine, ten, 11, to come down to the last few putts. It will be an amazing event here next year.”

While Montgomerie may be confident of a successful European display at The Ryder Cup next year, he cannot say the same about his own game at the moment - it is now 14 months since the eight-time European Number One finished in the top ten.

“Mundane,” was his response when asked about his golf. “Unfortunately my golf isn't great right now.  I've lost a bit of confidence. Obviously you do when you miss cuts and you don't compete, never mind contend. All I've been doing is competing, and I've got to get back to contending.

“As you're aware, I haven't been in the top ten for over a year now, and that hurts. So never mind winning - I think if we can get back in the top ten and then gain some confidence to get back in the top five to get in that top three and then you need a bit of luck to win.”

Montgomerie’s compatriot Alastair Forsyth is amongst those players hoping to hit form this week ahead of the charge for Ryder Cup points.

And the 33 year old admits he is going to need to come up with the goods on the big occasions if he wants to do battle with the USA side.

“I think for somebody like myself and for the rest of the Scots it's the same - if you're not playing, exempt for the Majors and not playing in the World Golf events, then you're going to have to win an event like a  BMW PGA at Wentworth or a Barclays Scottish Open or something like that,” he said.

“I think Ollie Wilson was the only guy last time that was on the team that had not won, but he had obviously had a lot of seconds and big results in the big tournaments where the big points are and where the big money is.”

Another player hoping to do well this week is France’s Grégory Havret, the defending champion.

“I really enjoy playing here that's for sure,” he said. “I really enjoy the way golf is in this country and the way people are with us. They are really knowledgeable people. You can hit a great shot for you and feel like you did really well because you had a tree down the line and you put a ball eight, nine metres and people enjoy it. That's quite rare on The European Tour - sometimes you hit a good shot and nobody claps, but that's not the case here.”

This week also sees the presence of the only three amateurs who have ever won European Tour events.

They are all professionals now and this is the first time Ireland's Shane Lowry, Spaniard Pablo Martin and New Zealander Danny Lee - The European Tour’s youngest ever winner at 18 in Australia in February - have competed in the same event.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1HEDBLOM, PeterSWE18-13
2ERLANDSSON, MartinSWE18-12
T3LAWRIE, PaulSCO18-10
T3HAVRET, GrégoryFRA18-10
5ORR, GarySCO18-9
T6KAPUR, ShivIND18-8
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