Rugby Legend Advising Monty on Winning Golf’s Greatest Prize

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Gavin Hastings and Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie at the start of the West Highland Way

By David Henderson

Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie has enlisted the help of a rugby legend to  give Europe the edge over America in golf’s biggest event.

Former Scotland captain Gavin Hastings is advising Monty on how to turn individuals into succesful team players. Montomerie takes charge of Europe at Celtic Manor in Wales next year.

Hastings warns Montgomerie that a team sport is a whole different ball game from his comfort zone in the solo sport of gold. Hastings told Edinburgh Napier News: “I’ve been a friend of Colin for years and I’m in no doubt he has what it takes to be a leader of men – and a succesful one. The Ryder Cup is unique in golf in that it is a team event. Monty is used to being a solo performer, used only to worrying about his own game. As captain, he needs consider the needs of the entire team”. 

Gavin Hastings saw how to deal with the needs of a multi-national group of sports starts when captain of the British and Irish Lions tour of New Zealand in 1993.  He’s cautioning Monty that he’ll have to manage egos to get results: “As captain of the Lions, I had to juggle my own needs with those of the rest of the squad. You need to manage the team as a group but also break it down and ensure that each individual is catered for correctly. Different players need different managerial techniques, sportsmen are all individuals. It’s about preparations and morale as much as it is about sporting form. I think that I can really help him and he seems to want to learn from my experience.”

The former Scotland captain is with the Ryder Cup captain on a fundraising walk for the  Elizabeth Montgomerie Foundation, the cancer charity formed by the golfer after his mother died of the disease in 1991. The sports stars were joined by Scotland football manager George Burley on their trek along the West Highland Way which aims to raise £100, 000 for the charity.