x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

UAE capital will help Montgomerie

The Ryder Cup captain of Europe will use the Abu Dhabi Championship to assess his potential team.

Colin Montgomerie, Europe's Ryder Cup captain, will use the Abu Dhabi Championship as the starting point for his season-long assessment of those hoping to earn a wild card selection into next year's clash with the United States at Celtic Manor. "I've always believed the Abu Dhabi tournament is a good barometer of how players have worked in the off season and those that do well there tend to keep that momentum going," said Montgomerie, a key figure in of Europe's recent successes against the Americans in the biennial event.

Now saddled with the task of winning back the trophy that Nick Faldo's European team surrendered to Paul Azinger's Americans last year, Montgomerie looks like having a good number of his potential line-up on view alongside him at the National course from January 21-24. Defending champion Paul Casey, triple major winner Padraig Harrington, the top Spaniard Sergio Garcia and Sweden's Henrik Stenson feature in a strong field for the fifth staging of the Abu Dhabi event.

Montgomerie is also seeking to give his own game a much needed boost. "I am hoping for a good start to the season and plan to work hard over the winter to ensure I am back on the leader board again," he said. "I am very keen to get my ranking back up in the first half of the year before I am too busy with Ryder Cup preparations to focus on my own golf." Faisal al Sheikh, head of the major events division of Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority, who are organising the tournament, welcomed Montgomerie's addition to the entry list. "We already have a number of Europe's top players and we will be announcing a host of other big names in the coming weeks," he said.

"A Ryder Cup year always attracts increased attention and many top players will be using the Abu Dhabi Championship as a platform to demonstrate their credentials." @Email:wjohnson@thenational.ae