European Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie defended world’s No. 1 Lee Westwood, who recaptured the top spot after a victory in Indonesia last week, against critics that believe the best in the world should have a major championship under his belt.
Speaking at the launch of Monty’s Monthly Medal charity initiative, Monty told Reuters, “It’s true Lee Westwood as number one has not won a major but we also have a world number one in ladies’ tennis as well who has not won a major.
“Major championships are one way or the other. I almost got to number one in the world without winning a major and if I had of won the ’97 Scottish Open at Loch Lomond I’d have been world number one also without winning a major.
“So it goes on performance and over two years Lee Westwood has more points than anyone else and he deserves his place. There’s no question about it.
“What that proves is consistency, and not just because you’ve won a big tournament as it is reflected in what you’ve done in all the others.
“So Lee Westwood is rightfully the best golfer in the world right now and to suggest otherwise is wrong.”
Monty, who was known to avoid events in the States, added that Americans have their panties in a bunch over Westy’s ranking because they no longer own the No. 1 spot. He suggested PGA Tour players follow the example of Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson and travel overseas more.
“Tiger (Woods) has always travelled about the world and been a global player, we’ve seen Phil (Mickelson) in recent years travel to European Tour events in the Far East and he was in Abu Dhabi this year which is great,” Montgomerie said.
“But it was the Americans who dominated the world rankings for the last 10 years, so what are they really complaining about? They were getting more points than we were here in Europe for a long time. The only reason they’re complaining is that the more top ranked players you have in European events, like Dubai earlier this year and Wentworth next month, the more points you generate.
“The BMW PGA is open to the top-50 in the world whether or not you are a European Tour member, so if the Americans are worried about the rankings why not come to Europe and play Wentworth?”
Good point. Americans have become too used to the world revolving around the PGA Tour, but several have started traveling more — usually it involves a six-plus-digit appearance fee or sponsor obligations, though. Why do you think Phil plays in the Scottish Open? It’s sponsored by Barclays.