It was [Joe] Burbeck’s idea to develop one of these layouts along lines, which were to be severe to a marked degree. It was his ambition to have something which might compare with Pine Valley as a great test and although my continual travels over the country in the PGA work have prevented me from seeing play over Bethpage’s Black since its opening, I am rather inclined to believe from reports from some of the best players that it is showing plenty of teeth. A.W. TILLINGHAST
And the prize goes to The Daily Mail's Malcolm Folley, who will receive an exclusive one-on-one with self-presumed 2014 Ryder Cup Captain Colin Montgomerie as long as he doesn't ask about, well that you know, that thing.
Olazabal failed to generate the response he had hoped for until the end of a momentous day. Yet Davis Love III’s men need just 4½ more points to reclaim the trophy.
Olazabal’s captaincy of the European team is unlikely to be regaled in tales of wonder. For when the story of the 39th Ryder Cup is retold, we will think of Americans Keegan Bradley, Bubba Watson, Webb Simpson, Zach Johnson and the ageless Phil Mickelson burying the reputations of the finest golfers from the other side of the Atlantic beneath the first fall of leaves at the Medinah Country Club.
We will struggle to understand how Olazabal had been unable to galvanise such renowned players as McIlroy, Donald, Lee Westwood, McDowell, Garcia and Justin Rose into offering greater resistance.
‘It’s a crisis now,’ said Colin Montgomerie, who proved a shrewd captain of Europe at Celtic Manor two years ago. ‘Our players haven’t performed to their ability and that’s why the gap has widened all the time.’
Okay, I officially feel like an idiot.
Merely trying to stir up a little Ryder Cup discussion and maybe a nasty Tweet from Ian Poulter, I suggested Padraig Harrington would make a great Ryder Cup captain's pick even though he has the yips.
Well, now European Captain Emeritus Monty has endorsed Paddy, reports Brian Keogh.
“I would encourage Jose to pick as many experienced players as possible but that is not my position right now.”
I feel ashamed, yes.
The winning 2010 European captain has always said it's not for him to nominate himself for the 2014 gig at Gleneagles near his home, and he said he would "not be promoting myself in that way."
But as Jim Black reports, Colin Montgomerie is promoting himself in that way...
“I was on the last one, so I know how it works. About 15 to 20 players, including a few ex-captains and potential captains, decide and their recommendation goes before George O’Grady, the chief executive of the European Tour, for approval. He has never opposed their recommendation in the past, as far as I am aware.
“This year was as easy as it could possibly be. Jose Maria Olazabal is two years younger than me and the transition was seamless. 2014 is more of an issue and there are a number of candidates – Clarke, Bjorn and McGinley, three of my vice-captains for a start, and then me.
Oh and then you? It used to be just the first three. Nice to see you've come around to the merits of your candidacy!
Please, go on...
“If you go back to the days of Jacklin and Gallacher – and I don’t believe the rules have changed – yes, there is an opportunity to do it again and I know for a fact that Ian Woosnam’s name was mentioned for Wales.
“So there is a possibility that might happen, but I won’t be putting my name forward. It is up to someone on the committee to say and I’ll leave the room again, as I did last time.
Oh Monty, you are such the gentleman!
Jim Black reports on Colin Montgomerie's critical account of Tiger's play at Lytham in the wake of Andy Murray's aggressive play in the Olympic tennis.
As usual, Monty almost got it right.
"The Olympic title isn't a grand slam event but, at the same time, for Murray to go back to the court where he lost to Federer a month before and produce such an amazing win took a lot of doing. He tried to attack in their previous match, but Federer forced him on to the defence, while Woods always looked like he was playing for a place in the Open and third is what he got. You've got to bring out the driver and attack at some point, not constantly hit 3-irons and end up two-putting from 40 feet. Using your driver is part of the game, surely.
"I don't think Tiger is confident using his driver, having watched him spend two and a half minutes deciding which club to hit on the 11th tee at Lytham and, when he did make up his mind, he almost lost his ball.
"Murray showed that the way to win is by being aggressive and attacking. He beat the two best players in the world, Federer and Djokovic, to prove that he is as good as anyone in the game."
Now I know you've all committed my Golf World story about Tiger's week at Lytham to memory, but in case you didn't read it yet, I focused on the moment at the 11th tee because I was sitting there listening to the conversation between Tiger and LaCava thanks to intimate spectator roping.
It was a key moment and he did eventually hit driver. Instead of hitting a slight draw, which was necessary to offset the left-to-right wind, Tiger did hit the slight cut he'd been hitting and the wind took it about 30 yards right of the fairway in a mashed down rough area. So Monty got part of it right.
That said, we will find out this week if it was a confidence situation or simply his strategic approach to Lytham, which, as I wrote in the story, kept him in contention but when the time came to shake the reins and make a move at 13 and 14, he stuck to the plan. At 7,767 yards and soft, Tiger won't have a choice this week.
The ubiquitous Colin Montgomerie has been signing books, giving interviews galore and in general, is making his presence felt this week at Royal Lytham and St. Annes, almost as if he was a former champion here (or anywhere).
But the former Open runner up is saving his most ridiculous insights for Daily Telegraph columns that should give the makers of Ambien cause for concern. Two stinkers from today's preview piece:
Of course, the rough in Kent was not as tough as the stuff we have here at Lytham. But then, the Lytham rough is not as fearsome as some people have suggested. Of course, there will be a penalty for anyone who goes into it, but it is one of the fundamentals of golf that bad shots should be punished and good shots, which at Lytham means straight shots, should be rewarded. Here, I like the fact that the worst of the rough, the really deep stuff, is far off line, meaning there is an element of proportionality to the punishment as well.
Of course, that's gibberish. The setup goes like this: Fairway, intermediate cut, rough of varying heights/density, slightly mashed roughs of varying heights/density, then rough mashed a bit where the media walks and finally, mashed down rough where the fans walk. Not proportional.
Lytham is maybe a little bit different from other Open courses as the houses that surround it offer some protection from the wind.
Some, being the operative word here. Wind protection from one-story homes?
For a man who lost his license over his proclivity to drive too fast, especially when Coldplay comes on the radio, and who cheated death in a car accident, I think it's fair to say the former Ryder Cup captain made a strange call to drive 900-miles home after the BMW at Wentworth and then return immediately after some tea and upon fetching a new putter.
"Who in their right mind would do that? But yes, I did," Montgomerie said. "I left Wentworth at 2pm, was home at 8pm, had tea with the family, left at 11pm and got here just after 6am."
A four‑under‑par 68 put the 48-year-old Scot on course to play in San Francisco next month, but he followed it up with a 72.
And the round featured the usual Monty dramatics:
Montgomerie missed out on a play-off by two strokes, so could look back on his pitch to the 17th hitting the flagstick and rebounding 15ft away, then lipping out from the same distance on the last.
I know, predictable fat jokes aren't fair these days now that Monty has dropped so much weight that I did a double take when spotting him under the Big Oak.
So here are four minutes of your life you won't' be getting back. But before you move on, in those four minutes we learn Monty is helping Richard Branson launch the "Swingers Club" (yes, the same Monty who has been dogged by...anyway...). And best of all from the Virgin executive, there was this statement about Monty: "If not the greatest, one of the greatest golfers in the world."
I knew I'd get you to watch!