Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Will the Ryder Cup in October be one to remember?

Some say this biennial bonfire of the vanities is over-hyped, but that simply is not possible in a year when Colin Montgomerie could be the captain of Ian Poulter.

For all the Scot's fa├žade of good grace and statesmanship, Montgomerie's leadership will be its own source of fascination at Celtic Manor. Will Poulter, assuming he qualifies, be ordered to go easy on the peacock hairstyle? Will he be allowed any say on the European team's dress code for the final-day singles?

A performer of peerless Ryder Cup pedigree, Montgomerie is little versed in the management of such egos. He remains acutely vulnerable, too, to the raucous banter and cat-calls that have tended to disfigure – or enhance, depending on your point of view – this event. That 'Mrs Doubtfire' soubriquet still stings.

The dynamic with Corey Pavin, the United States captain, has a similar potential to be explosive. While Pavin's official pronouncements have so far been studies in blandness, his apologists tend to forget the fiery, moustachioed renegade he used to be – not least when he revved up the Americans to memorable effect at Kiawah Island in 1991.

No one could fail to romanticise the prospect of 50,000 people galvanising 24 players for three days amid the splendour of rural South Wales. The one imponderable is how sodden and bedraggled those people will be after braving the Usk Valley in October.

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