McIlroy stirs up Ryder Cup debate

Rory McIlroy, right, talks with his then Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie before Europe's 2010 victory in Wales.

Story highlights

  • Rory McIlroy says Colin Montgomerie should not return as European Ryder Cup captain
  • World No. 1 backs Irishman Paul McGinley to step up from vice-captaincy role
  • The 23-year-old Northern Irishman says the skipper's job should be a "one-time thing"
  • European captain will be named on Tuesday ahead of Abu Dhabi tournament
While the sporting world awaits confirmation of his mega-money new sponsorship deal with Nike, Rory McIlroy has deflected attention to one of the other big stories on golf's horizon this week -- the naming of the next European Ryder Cup captain.
The world No. 1 was part of last year's winning team, famously triumphing in his final-day singles match after needing a police escort to get to the Medinah course on time.
Jose Maria Olazabal stood down after guiding the Europeans to a remarkable come-from-behind win over the U.S. -- and his assistants Darren Clarke and Paul McGinley were initially frontrunners for the 2014 role at Gleneagles in Scotland.
However, that changed when the Americans turned once again to Tom Watson, the last U.S. captain to triumph on European soil in 1993 and who won four of his eight major titles at Scottish links courses.
Since then Colin Montgomerie has been widely tipped to repeat his 2010 role, when Europe won at Celtic Manor, and the eight-time European Tour money list winner confirmed last week that he would be interested in the leading the team in his home country.
"I thought it was between Darren and Paul until Darren said something, then my name was mentioned," Montgomerie said ahead of the Volvo Champions event in South Africa, where he finished 18 shots behind Sunday's victor Louis Oosthuizen.
"I've never canvassed, as I didn't last time. I've not spoken to anybody about this. But I've always felt that if I was asked I would do it and that's still the case."
However, McIlroy -- who played under Montgomerie -- has firm opinions about who should be captain.
"Ryder Cup captaincy should be a 1-time thing," the Northern Irishman said on his Twitter page.
"Everybody deserving gets their chance and moves on. Would love to play under Paul McGinley in '14."
Bernard Gallacher, the last man to captain Europe more than once, agreed that Montgomerie should not return.
"Colin said himself, when he was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame, he intends to compete on the American seniors tour the moment he turns 50 this summer," the 63-year-old, who was skipper in 1991, '93 and '95, told the Scottish Daily Record newspaper.
"So he will very quickly become out of touch with the players on the main tour. What message would that send to the other worthy candidates who are queuing up for the job, having earned their right to the captaincy just as much as Colin?"
Paul Lawrie, who tied for seventh at Durban Country Club on Sunday, has also spoken out against the chances of his compatriot Montgomerie.
"He's had his go. One time job for me," the 1999 British Open champion wrote on Twitter.
However, fellow professional Henrik Stenson, who was on the committee that first appointed Montgomerie, said the 49-year-old might yet be picked again on Tuesday in Abu Dhabi.
"No-one would question his passion for the Ryder Cup and the effort he put into the captaincy in 2010 and I am sure he would do the same and maybe more this time around if he was to be asked. So that might be a possible scenario," the Swede told the Scotsman newspaper.
Olazabal, who finished joint last in the 33-man Volvo Champions tournament, said he would not be interested in taking the job again.
"First of all it's a lot of energy and time, a huge demand and the pressure is quite big," the Spaniard told the UK Press Association.
"Even if it was held in Spain again somewhere down the line I wouldn't do it. Monty has also done it and was successful too. If I was him I wouldn't do it again, but Monty is his own man.
"I am a strong believer that we have a generation of players that deserve the captaincy -- and some might miss out because there are just too many. I think it's right to give those guys a chance."
The debate, which comes ahead of this week's Abu Dhabi Championship featuring McIlroy and Tiger Woods, has taken some of the attention off Oosthuizen's remarkable come-from-behind victory in Durban.
The South African has risen to a career-high fourth in the world rankings after wiping out Scott Jamieson's five-shot lead within the first 11 holes of the final round.
The 2010 British Open champion shot six-under-par 66 to win by one stroke, denying the Scot his second win in the city in the space of a month.
It was his sixth victory on the European Tour, lifting him up to second in the Race to Dubai standings behind world No. 100 Jamieson, and his seventh top-10 finish in his last eight starts.
"It's a great start to the year, I knew I had to come out and get my name up there," the 30-year-old said.
Jamieson, who won the Nelson Mandela Championship in December to qualify for the limited field, almost forced a playoff when his eagle chip attempt at the last hole stopped just short of the hole.
"Louis's a major champion -- there's no shame in losing to him," the 29-year-old said.
Meanwhile, rookies Russell Henley and Scott Langley took a three-shot lead into the final round of the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Hawaii on Sunday.
The Americans were being chased by South African Tim Clark, while another newcomer -- Australian Scott Gardiner -- was tied for fourth with U.S. tour stalwart Charles Howell.