Colin Montgomerie heavily tipped to get Ryder Cup captain's job for Gleneagles
Sources close to Colin Montgomerie say the Scot is now the new favourite to be Ryder Cup captain at Gleneagles in 2014.
Last Updated: 14/01/13 7:47pm
Originally thought to be a straight battle between Paul McGinley and Darren Clarke, Monty's name has only recently been brought into the mix.
But those whispers have now escalated, with the Scot being tipped strongly to get a second stint at the job in 2014 having captained Europe to victory at Celtic Manor in 2010.
Sky Sports News golf reporter James Haddock revealed on Monday morning that a source very close to the Montgomerie camp is saying they have "an extremely high level of confidence that the vote is going to go Colin Montgomerie's way."
Haddock, out on the range ahead of this week's Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, added: "There's a lot of conversations going on here at the moment, some of them getting slightly heated.
"Thomas Bjorn I saw having a pretty full on, heated discussion with someone and it just shows that there's a lot of conversations happening with the key players involved in making this decision."
Bjorn, as is Monty himself, is one of the 15-man committee who will meet in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday night to decide who gets the job.
Recent policy has been for the European skipper's job to be a one-stop deal and that's certainly the view of world number one Rory McIlroy.
"Ryder Cup captaincy should be a one-time thing," McIlroy said on Twitter. "Everybody deserving gets their chance and moves on. Would love to play under Paul McGinley in '14."
However, the Americans' decision to bring back 1993 winning skipper Tom Watson as captain for 2014 could sway opinion, with one line of thought believing Europe need a bigger name than McGinley to be up against the iconic five-time Open winner.
Made their minds up
Haddock, after speaking to some of the 15-man committee, said: "Some have said to me they've already made their minds up, they won't say who, others I think may well be prepared to be swayed by discussions tomorrow night.
"But the indications from the Sky source right now is that it looks like Colin Montgomerie may well be in the box seat to be the next Ryder Cup captain.
"It would be a huge shock for pretty much everyone involved in golf really."
Clarke, who was touted by some of his colleagues such as Lee Westwood as the ideal man for the job, took a step back in the last couple of days when saying he still had hopes of qualifying for Gleneagles as a player.
That appeared to put the ball strongly in McGinley's court with Sky Bet slashing the Dubliner to just 1/5 to get the captain's job.
However, the new, shock revelations about Monty prompted the bookies to push McGinley out to 4/5, with Montgomerie 10/11.
Speaking before heading from South Africa to the Middle East, Montgomerie said: "Obviously, it would be a dream come true if I could be seen to be captain at home in Scotland.
"It will be a great honour. It seemed to be between Darren and Paul and now my name seems to be mentioned an awful lot, so we will see."
As for the demands of the job the eight-time European number one added: "It's a lot of time, a lot of pressure on family and you as a individual.
"The scrutiny when it's at home is a lot more. It's an invasion of your privacy and life."
Montgomerie has spoken to Clarke since he declared last Friday that now might not be the time for him and that the 2016 match in America might have less of an impact on his career.
"I can fully understand where Darren is coming from, especially given the exemptions he still has into the majors (thanks to his 2011 Open win) as you want to use them when you can still play.
"Because we're close friends he knows it took a year and a half out of my career.
"If you come back after a year and a half out you might not be able to use those exemptions to the same potential.
"I didn't think it would affect my golf the way it did - I've told him that. I was looking at leaderboards for other names and not my own.
"I was hoping that some were doing well as opposed to concentrating on my own game.
"And practice went out of the window - there's no time. It's a full-time commitment if you want to do it properly."