'Been There, Done That' - European Legend Montgomerie Rules Out Ryder Cup Return

Colin Montgomerie would not want to return as Ryder Cup captain as he says Europe have a good chance in 2023 thanks to their big four

Colin Montgomerie won the 2012 Ryder Cup as captain
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Former European Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie says the hosts have got a much better chance of maintaining their winning form on home soil this year thanks to improvements over the last year.

Montgomerie, who led Europe to a dramatic Monday victory at Celtic Manor in 2010, says he would not have given them much chance a year ago, but some great form from the top four in particular has strengthened their case.

Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy have both risen to World No.1 while the Spaniard and Matt Fitzpatrick have won Majors, with Viktor Hovland a regular contender in golf’s biggest events.

“I wouldn’t have given Europe much chance a year ago. I think we have improved a lot with our top four players in Jon Rahm, Viktor Hovland, Rory McIlroy and Matt Fitzpatrick who won again recently at the RBC,” Montgomerie told Forbes.

“There’s a good top four. Then you add in Shane Lowry, Tommy Fleetwood, Justin Rose and Tyrrell Hatton and there’s a good next four. Then there’s some rookies and first timers.

“It’s not a bad team actually and we haven’t lost at home for 30 years. It’s a record that almost nobody can understand, the Belfry was the last time. So we have a record to sustain.”

Montgomerie insisted that even if the Americans again come over to Europe with the stronger-looking team in terms of world ranking, the “putting contest” that is the Ryder Cup is so different that those rankings don’t matter.

“We will be fighting like hell,” he added. “The Americans are good, don’t get me wrong, but it’s a matter of who holes the putts at the right time.

“It’s a putting competition, match play, it’s a very short game. I’m not saying that some of our guys will beat Scottie Scheffler over their careers or over a tournament but over a round, they could. That’s why the Ryder Cup is so good and why the rankings go out the window.”

Jose Maria Olazabal, Paul McGinley and Luke Donald at the Hero Cup

There has been talk of Paul McGinley or other winning captains returning to Ryder Cup action

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Europe’s recent success has come with some fine succession planning in terms of captains, but that has been thrown a curveball with Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter, Henrik Stenson and Sergio Garcia all resigning after LIV Golf punishments.

Stenson was due to captain the side in Rome this year while Westwood, Garcia and Poulter looked nailed-on leaders in the years to come – leaving Europe with gaps to fill.

Some have suggested victorious former captains such as Thomas Bjorn and Paul McGinley be brought back for a second go to fill the void – but Montgomerie will not be putting his name forward if the call comes.

“I was told by Sam Torrance, Bernhard Langer and Ian Woosnam, three winning captains, ‘if you’ve won it, get out.’ Why go back into the lion’s den when it’s a fifty-fifty coin toss to be honest,” Monty added.

“Mine was within half a point. I was fortunate and lucky enough to be selected as a captain and very fortunate to win and leave happily. If anyone came to me and asked if I wanted to captain the team next year, I’d say ‘I’m sorry, I’ve been there, done that.”

Paul Higham

Paul Higham is a sports journalist with over 20 years of experience in covering most major sporting events for both Sky Sports and BBC Sport. He is currently freelance and covers the golf majors on the BBC Sport website.  Highlights over the years include covering that epic Monday finish in the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor and watching Rory McIlroy produce one of the most dominant Major wins at the 2011 US Open at Congressional. He also writes betting previews and still feels strangely proud of backing Danny Willett when he won the Masters in 2016 - Willett also praised his putting stroke during a media event before the Open at Hoylake. Favourite interviews he's conducted have been with McIlroy, Paul McGinley, Thomas Bjorn, Rickie Fowler and the enigma that is Victor Dubuisson. A big fan of watching any golf from any tour, sadly he spends more time writing about golf than playing these days with two young children, and as a big fair weather golfer claims playing in shorts is worth at least five shots. Being from Liverpool he loves the likes of Hoylake, Birkdale and the stretch of tracks along England's Golf Coast, but would say his favourite courses played are Kingsbarns and Portrush.