x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Montgomerie's helping hand

Europe's Ryder Cup captain showed his elusive sense of humour as the debate over Tiger Woods making an appearance at Celtic Manor continued.

SHEBOYGAN, WISCONSIN // Colin Montgomerie, Europe's Ryder Cup captain, showed his elusive sense of humour yesterday as the debate over Tiger Woods making an appearance at Celtic Manor continued. While Corey Pavin, Montgomerie's opposite number, refused to be drawn on whether the world No 1 would be given a captain's pick for the tournament in October. The US team's final four players are chosen by Pavin on September 7 and, until he arrived in Whistling Straits, Woods had seriously struggled with his form.

Pavin has said Woods is not guaranteed a place, which prompted one reporter at a press conference to ask Montgomerie if he would have selected him. The Scotsman said: "That's a very difficult, dangerous and undiplomatic question - but of course I'd pick him, yes." To that Pavin replied: "Let me make a note of that. Thanks for the help. Appreciate it. He's very helpful that way, Colin is." But Montgomerie was not being mischievous, just straight-talking. Well aware that the Americans won without Woods two years ago - he was recovering from knee surgery - and that he was next-to-last in Akron last Sunday, Montgomerie remains a huge fan of the game's biggest star, who started well in the US PGA yesterday .

"Of course there's a huge aura regarding Tiger Woods still," he said. "It's the one name that all our team will be looking for." * Press Association