Monty wants K Club captaincy

By Brian Keogh

Colin Montgomerie has set his heart on the Ryder Cup captaincy in Ireland in 2006.

Despite his unbeaten run at the Belfry last year, he feels that he will be too old to continue playing in three years' time.

"I'd love to captain the side in Ireland," he said. "Hopefully I'll be of more help captaining the team than playing at number nine.

"If I'm still playing as well as I did last year then I'll have to delay it but Sam Torrance brought the age down because he felt he could liaise with the younger and the more senior players. Gone are the days of having a 60 year old captain.

"There are so many young players coming through. You think of Luke Donald and Paul Casey and Ian Poulter and Justin Rose, Graeme McDowell. And a few Swedes will appear from somewhere no doubt."

"The Ryder Cup won't be in Scotland until 2014 by which stage I'll be 51. Possibly a bit late. But in 2006 I'll be 43 and that's two years older than Seve was at Valderrama."

Montgomerie was at Carton House, just a couple of miles from the K Club, where he paid a flying visit to play nine holes on the new 'inland links' he has designed there.

Sitting alongside the existing Mark O'Meara layout which opened last year, the Colin Montgomerie Course will open for play later this summer at the spectacular 1,000 acre Maynooth estate.

Carton now boasts 36 holes since Mark O'Meara unveiled his first European project there last July.

And with Montgomerie the hot favourite to skipper Europe at the K Club in 2006, Carton are hoping that O'Meara will captain the Americans for a unique double.

Monty will be 40 in June but he gained great hope from 42 year old Fred Couples' win on the US Tour last week.

"I'm delighted for Fred. He introduced me to the belly putter and we also shared the same coach in Paul Marchand when we were at college. He has given all us oldies with bad backs some hope.

"My back is fine but I want to get back into the top ten in the world and if I can do that it means I will have won three times and done okay.

"I'll be back at the Belfry for the Benson and Hedges next week I'll be looking to win. The Ryder Cup has been good to me there and I was third in the B and H last year.

"Paul McGinley said that even the way I sat in the team room at the Ryder Cup suggested to him and the team that I was going to win. I wasn't aware of it but I was certainly relaxed."