U.S. Open

Pinehurst Resort & Country Club (Course No. 2)

The Loop

Sideshow Monty

September 25, 2009

The Ryder Cup matches are the main event in this circus, but it's still a year away, so in the meantime we have to amuse ourselves with the side show, starring Colin Montgomerie.

Monty, the European Ryder Cup captain, criticized Ian Poulter for electing not to play in the Vivendi Trophy this week, which made news that has had staying power.

"Colin Montgomerie must learn diplomacy or destroy Ryder cup spirt," stated a headline in the Times, two days after his shot at Poulter.

"Montgomerie and diplomacy go together about as well as wedges and shanks," Times golf writer John Hopkins wrote. "It promises to make the next year a very interesting time indeed."

That Montgomerie already is making headlines, with the Ryder Cup still a year off, is a sonata to the ears of PGA of America officials, who have to be thrilled with having Monty around, considering that the most notable role a captain plays is a promotional one.

Remember, it's a job awarded based on past performance -- as a player, not as a coach (or in this case as a captain), or a motivational speaker. That makes it largely a ceremonial one.

So he's taking either it or himself too seriously, probably both. As captains go, here's a vote for Fred Couples' approach. For the Presidents Cup, he's bringing in Michael Jordan because, well, he's Michael Jordan. Who in sports wouldn't want him around? And for a time he talked about employing Robin Williams, for comic relief.

Montgomerie, meanwhile, is comedy gold, mitigating the need for outside entertainment.

-- John Strege