Monty welcomes choice of Bjorn as captain

Thomas Bjorn will captain Europe in the 2018 Ryder Cup in France (Picture: John Walton/PA Wire).

Colin Montgomerie has backed Thomas Bjorn to be a success as Europe’s Ryder Cup captain, saying the Dane was “the obvious choice”.

Bjorn was confirmed yesterday as captain for Europe’s attempt to win back the trophy from the United States in France in 2018.

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The 45-year-old was Montgomerie’s vice-captain when Europe regained the Cup at Celtic Manor in 2010, and the Scot felt Bjorn excelled in the role.

“Thomas was the obvious choice, and the right choice, to be captain in 2018,” Montgomerie said.

“I saw first hand what he was like as a vice-captain in 2010, and he was exceptional. I used him possibly more than any other vice-captain at Celtic Manor.

“He wears his heart on his sleeve and I think that’s important for the role.

“I wouldn’t be worried about his combustible and fiery nature, that is good in a way. I think you need that to beat the might of the Americans.

“We need to win the Ryder Cup back in France, and I feel we’ve got the best captain to do that.”

Sheffield’s Danny Willett was part of the European team beaten 17-11 at Hazeltine in October.

The US Masters champion said: “Thomas is a well-respected man in our game and on the European Tour.

“From what I saw from him as vice-captain, he will make a fantastic captain.”

Bjorn’s three Ryder Cup appearances as a player all resulted in victories while he has been a vice-captain four times, including to Darren Clarke in Minnesota two months ago.

He was chosen by a five-man selection panel comprising the three most recent European Ryder Cup captains – Clarke, Paul McGinley and Jose Maria Olazabal – as well as chief executive of the European Tour Keith Pelley and European Tour tournament committee member Henrik Stenson.

Bjorn said: “It’s a huge honour for me to be named European captain for the 2018 Ryder Cup in Paris. This is one of the greatest days in my career.

“I studied a lot of captains as a player and as a vice captain and always wondered what that feeling would be like to be the one leading out a team of 12 great players.

“Now it’s my turn to do just that and it is an exciting moment for me.

“I have lived and breathed the European Tour for so long, and now I will do the same with the Ryder Cup for the next two years. I’m very much looking forward to taking on this task.”

Beth Allen wants to cap her fine Ladies European Tour season with victory at the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters.

The 34-year-old American has already guaranteed herself the Order of Merit title and is out to put the icing on the cake at Emirates Golf Club this week.

“I am excited, I’ve been playing well and I wouldn’t mind another trophy,” she said.

“I’ve always just done the best I can and sometimes I’ve had success and other times I haven’t.

“I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing and hopefully I will be able to end the season strongly.

“It will be fun playing on the course, which is always in awesome condition.

“The course offers plenty of scoring opportunities. It’s a tough course, but provides a fair test of golf.”

Dame Laura Davies will be making her 10th consecutive appearance, at the age of 53.

The four-time major winner said: “Just because you get a bit older doesn’t mean you can’t still compete week-in, week-out.

“All I want to do is win. My enthusiasm is still right there.”

Defending champion Shanshan Feng of China is also in a strong field for the season-ending LET event.