Guessing the contents of Colin Montgomerie's bedroom drawer was the name of the game on the eve of this week's Johnnie Walker championship at Gleneagles. Monty, captain of the 2010 European Ryder Cup side in Wales, admitted to having hidden a list of the 12 players he thinks will be in his team. "Come next August, it will be interesting to see how close I got," said the Scot. He was not going to reveal who was on his list but, when he said that there were "a few" rookies, the suspicion was that he was thinking of such as Ross Fisher, Martin Kaymer, Graeme McDowell, Rory McIlroy and Alvaro Quiros.
There was an older hand, too, and in this instance thoughts turned to the 45-year-old Miguel Angel Jimenez, whose love of a good dinner would in itself endear him to Montgomerie. Though the Scot said he would like to see one of his compatriots in the team, not too many could see who that might be. Montgomerie had watched last week's Solheim Cup and listened with interest to Alison Nicholas's comments as to how Europeans are not as good as Americans when it comes to whipping up crowd support.
"Luckily," said Montgomerie, "It's not something we're going to have to worry about in Wales. The players won't need to do anything to encourage the crowd because every European supporter is going to be right behind us." Montgomerie recalled that the last time Europe had made a successful fist of courting the crowd on US soil was the 2004 side at Oakland Hills. When Bernhard Langer heard that the American players had been told not to sign autographs over the practice days, he saw the gap and instructed his troops to sign everything and to chat with everyone.
On the match days, the Europeans had at least half the crowd on their side, if not more. email@example.com