Colin Montgomerie and Darren Clarke are not always on the same page.
Clarke was, after all, on the Tournament Players Committee that expressed “dissatisfaction” with Montgomerie’s conduct when he took that now infamous drop in the Indonesian Open in Jakarta in 2005.
They were both on the International Ballot for the 2013 World Golf Hall of Fame and with Monty getting 51% of the vote to Clarke’s 5%, the Scot was elected alongside administrator Ken Schofield.
But whether Clarke is on the same page as Montgomerie when it comes to his thoughts on the 2014 Ryder Cup captaincy is another matter.
Whatever about the relative merits or demerits of the Hall of Fame, Montgomerie gave Sky Sports News plenty of sound-bytes yesterday, including his thoughts on the 2014 Ryder Cup captaincy and the possibility that the European Tour could opt for a repeat of the situation in 2005 when Ian Woosnam and Nick Faldo were named as skippers for the 2006 and 2008 matches.
Barring another late run by Montgomerie himself - something that cannot be ruled out given the way he came up on the rails in 2010 - it’s expected to be a straight fight between Clarke and Dubliner Paul McGinley and Montgomerie is not ruling out a 2014-2016 announcement this time.
With eight-time Major winner Tom Watson set to captain the United States, many expect the European Tour to appoint Clarke given that he is a major winner with a high profile and therefore a better option that McGinley.
Not so fast, says Montgomerie, who is a member of the Tournament Players Committee that recommends the captain to the Ryder Cup board. Let’s work out what we’re looking for first before jumping to conclusions.
He has vouched for McGinley’s credentials in the past and he appeared to come out in favour of the Dubliner for Gleneagles again yesterday in hinting at a possible double captaincy announcement early in the New Year with Clarke to get the job in 2016.
“It will be a very interesting debate and I will listen to it,” said Montgomerie. “There is an opportunity to do two at one time again. Both Clarke and McGinley are respected in the game and great candidates.
“The fact that Tom Watson has been made America’s captain should not colour our judgement. We should have only one criteria - picking the best man for the job.”
Either would be worthy captains but it remains to be seen by what criteria the Committee, of which Montgomerie is a member, eventually selects the 2014 captain.
Like ever other tour player, Clarke would love another chance to play. Whether he would take a vice-captaincy again is less than clear given his tongue in cheek remarks on RTE’s Late Late Show recently.
“I would much, much prefer to be a player,” Clarke told presenter Ryan Tubridy. “I’ve been vice captain and it’s a great atmosphere and all that, but it’s not the same. You don’t hit a shot. You’re basically holding toilet doors open for the guys and letting them come in and out.”
Sky Sports also reported that it was not a foregone conclusion that the 2014 Ryder Cup captaincy vote would be taken at the Tournament Players Committee meeting in Abu Dhabi in January.
“European Tour chief executive George O’Grady has said the tournament committee vote would ‘not necessarily’ happen at their next meeting,” Sky reported.
Clarke will no doubt be hoping for a better outcome than the Hall of Fame ballot, below:
Hall of Fame International ballot
Colin Montgomerie 51 % (elected)
Graham Marsh 34 %
Ian Woosnam 21%
Pádraig Harrington 19 %
Retief Goosen 18 %
Norman von Nida 15%
Max Faulkner 7 %
Darren Clarke 5 %
Miguel Ángel Jiménez 2 %