European Tour needs to keep its stars playing at home, says Montgomerie

Colin Montgomerie
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Colin Montgomerie believes that the migration of European stars onto the PGA Tour could hurt European Tour sponsorship as well as Europe's chances in future Ryder Cups.
PA Sport

Series: European Tour

Published: Monday, December 24, 2012 | 12:35 p.m.

LONDON -- The European Tour needs to take some steps to encourage European stars to play more in Europe, says Colin Montgomerie.

Ten members of September's victorious Ryder Cup team – all but Paul Lawrie and Francesco Molinari – will be members of the PGA Tour next season.

"It's very difficult and we have to sit down and try to address this," said Montgomerie, who is a member of the European Tour's powerful Tournament Committee.

"Sponsorship is getting harder and the first thing a sponsor asks is, 'who's playing?'," he added. "He wants as many Ryder Cup players as possible. It's important for the future of European golf."

The influx of European stars to America also could have repercussions in future Ryder Cups. After being named U.S. Ryder Cup Captain Tom Watson spoke about the edge Europe gains by staging the match on courses well-known to its players.

The 2014 Ryder Cup is at Gleneagles in Scotland, but though a European Tour event has been held there every year since 1999, it doesn’t always attract the top names.

Last August, for example, the only members of Jose Maria Olazabal's side who played there -- even though it was the final qualifying event for the 2012 team -- were Lawrie, Molinari and Nicolas Colsaerts.

Montgomerie led the 2012 European team at Celtic Manor and admitted he was disappointed that more of his side did not play the Wales Open earlier in the year. Only seven of the 12 were there.

"We need to get our team to Gleneagles. We have to have that advantage," Montgomerie said. "In 1997, our biggest advantage was Valderrama. The Americans had three days to prepare, we had 10 years."



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