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Montgomerie takes Ryder Cup reins

January 28, 2009 22:00 IST

Europe's long-time Ryder Cup talisman Colin Montgomerie was handed the task of winning the trophy back from the United States when he was named as team captain on Wednesday.

The eight-times European number one will take over for the 2010 match from Nick Faldo, who was in charge for last year's comprehensive 16 1/2-11 1/2 loss in Valhalla, Kentucky.

Faldo, 51, was criticised by some for not knowing his team well enough and Montgomerie will be a popular choice among the Tour players he has competed against for many years.

"I am proud and honoured to be selected," the 45-year-old Montgomerie told a news conference on the eve of the Dubai Desert Classic. "This is one of the most proud moments I can think of.

"It is a huge responsibility having lost the last one and it is important we do everything we can to claim it back. I'll do everything I can to reclaim the Ryder Cup.

"I dreamt this opportunity might one day come my way but they were far-off dreams, I admit."

Although he failed to qualify for the 2008 match, the 45-year-old Montgomerie has a wealth of Ryder Cup experience and was instrumental in Europe's years of success against the U.S. before the defeat last year.

In 2006 he became the second European after Bernhard Langer to play in five winning teams. He is also unbeaten in eight singles matches after making his debut in 1991.

The 45-year-old Montgomerie is third on the list of Europe's leading points scorers with 23 1/2 but his appointment as skipper appears to have ended his hopes of breaking Faldo's record haul of 25.

"I feel the time is right for me to take the helm," said the Scot, who added he had no intention of serving as a playing captain.

Asked if his decision to take charge at the Celtic Manor resort in Wales next year would signal the end of his Ryder Cup playing career, he said: "This may well have been (my last chance) but my aim now is to play in 2012 (in Illinois)".

Montgomerie, who had always been expected to get the captaincy for the 2014 edition on home soil at Gleneagles, said it was clear at the tournament committee's meeting in Abu Dhabi two weeks ago the other players wanted him in charge.

"I've been listening and taking heed of what the players and our (committee) chairman Thomas Bjorn have been saying over the last two weeks," he said.

"When discussions started in Abu Dhabi it became clearer and clearer it might be a possibility for me to do it this time. Five and a half years is a long time in any walk of life, especially sport."

Montgomerie said his chief rival for the job, Spain's Jose Maria Olazabal, would be among his backroom staff.

"Jose Maria will be part of my team," said the Scot. "I have a great understanding and respect for him. We first came together in 1984 in the British amateur final and it's amazing how the two of us have gone forward in this game from that date."

Montgomerie will be up against United States captain Corey Pavin when the 2010 Ryder Cup is played from Oct. 1-3.

"I haven't spoken to Corey yet but I respect him as a competitor ... and I will be calling him later this evening," he said.

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