Colin Montgomerie believes his fellow Scot Robert MacIntyre is in the running for a Ryder Cup debut this year
Colin Montgomerie believes fellow Scot Robert MacIntyre has already proved he has the right attitude to excel in the pressurised environment that is the Ryder Cup.
Speaking ahead of this week’s Senior Open, Monty heaped praise on the 24-year-old, having been extremely impressed with his performance at The Open at Royal St George’s.
“Tell you what, tell you what, I was very, very impressed with his attitude,” Montgomerie said. “His way of not feeling happy with where he was on the 14th tee. I think he just birdied 13 and he got to certainly fifth, sixth place.
“Now, as a youngster only in his seventh major, to attack, attack, attack, to try and get to two behind, one behind, I like that. I love that in him.
“And I think that’s why he’s going to do extremely well. He’s not satisfied with, as a number of them are, satisfied with fifth, sixth place, I’ll take the money and run.
“No, Bob was going for an eagle on 14. Ok, he pulled it but at the same time I was very impressed with the whole way of trying to win that golf tournament, and that’s what will stand him in good stead.”
After birdieing the 18th on Friday to make the cut on the number at Royal St George’s, MacIntyre fired weekend rounds of 65 and 67 to vault himself up the leaderboard, eventually finishing in a tie for eighth.
The result was the left-hander’s second consecutive top-10 in golf’s oldest championship, having finished in a tie for sixth on his Open debut at Royal Portrush two years ago.
It also increased his run of consecutive major cuts made to seven and improved his chances of qualifying for Padraig Harrington’s Ryder Cup team set to take on a strong US side at Whistling Straits come September.
As it stands, MacIntyre would be relying on a captain’s pick but Montgomerie, who made eight appearances in the biennial contest as a player and captained Europe to victory in 2010, believes the rookie would make a fantastic addition to the European side.
He added: “It’s his seventh major and he’s made the cut in every one of them. He’s right on the cusp of the Ryder Cup team now, and that never-say-die attitude would be brilliant in a Ryder Cup format.
“He [Harrington] is looking for the Robert MacIntyres of this world. That type of guy that’s not going to back away from the fight.
“Because I tell you, without the European support – because I don’t think America is going to open up for us to go there in time so it’s going to be 99 per cent American support – it’s going to be difficult.
“Difficult to pick a rookie in America, but if you are picking a rookie, Bob would be the one you’d pick.”
On his own game, Montgomerie, now 58, is at Sunningdale this week for the Senior Open. As competitive as ever, the eight-time European Tour No. 1 is targeting a win that will book his place at next year’s 150th Open at St Andrews and end a drought that irks him.
“Having not won an R&A event, as such, second in The Open to Woods in 2005 and runner-up at the British Amateur to Olazabal – I picked real beauties there to come up against didn’t I? – it would be great to win.
“We all know that if you do happen to win, you get an invite to St Andrews next year, which would be a real celebration of golf, being the 150th Open. So that’s on the radar as well for us all.
“The biggest achievement I’ve ever had was winning just down the road at Wentworth three times in a row. To win the BMW PGA as it is now in ’98, ’99, 2000, that was my biggest achievement, I’ll always say that.
“To win here at 58 against a lot of good 50-year-olds would be right up there. The three Wentworth trophies take pride of place in the trophy cabinet and this one would be right beside, I assure you.”