European Captain Colin Montgomerie is considering handing a Ryder Cup wild card to Bernhard Langer, even though the German is now on the Champions Tour.
The 53-year-old Langer played the last of his 10 Ryder Cups at The Belfry in 2002.
In the last three weeks, however, he has won both the Senior British Open and the U.S. Senior Open. Montgomerie believes his vast Cup experience could be invaluable to a Europe team that might include at least four rookies.
"I would not rule out picking Bernhard," Montgomerie said. "I'm not ruling out anybody, especially someone who has performed to that degree and is in the form of his life."
Langer said Sunday at the 3M Championship in suburban Minneapolis: "If he wants me on the team, I would definitely consider it, yes."
Montgomerie said to win the Senior British Open at Carnoustie, then travel eight time zones and beat local favorite Fred Couples at the U.S. Senior Open in Seattle was no mean feat.
"He (Langer) said afterward that he used everything he had learned in the Ryder Cup to overcome a very vocal home support, and I think it wouldn't be such a dramatic move to have someone of that age and that experience in the team," Monty said.
"It wouldn't be such an out-of-the-blue pick,â he explained. âI think he's playing as well as he ever has and he's said he is. And I know through having played with Bernhard Langer that he is as good a partner as anyone could ever have."
After his two senior major wins, some observers began wondering whether he merited consideration as a captain's pick. Among those not impressed with the notion was Darren Clarke, a longtime Ryder Cup stalwart and a one of Montgomerieâs vice-captains this year.
"I couldn't see that, no," Clarke said last week at the Irish Open. "I think Bernhard is a great player, has been a great player. I think he's obviously played great winning the British Seniors Open, but it's a different field you're competing in."
Montgomerie has another month before he has to pick his team to play the United States in Wales on Oct. 1-3, and he may have an experience gap that could be filled by Langer.
Langer used the same logic when he added Montgomerie to the 2004 squad he captained.
"He was borderline," Langer said, "but I felt he brought a lot of experience and the right spirit into the team room, and he played well."
Montgomerie might not have the services of European No. 1 and world No. 3 Lee Westwood, who pulled out of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational after two rounds Friday with a calf injury. The Englishman said he will need at least six weeks of rest and treatment before he can return to golf.