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September 27, 2010

Truth & Rumors: Monty denies dissing Tiger

Team Europe captain Colin Montgomerie quickly distanced himself from a report in the British press that said Montgomerie would not want Tiger Woods on his team at the Ryder Cup.

“I don't know where that came from,” Montgomerie said Monday. “I never spoke to any press yesterday, and I don't know where that came from. I've always said that ‑‑ I've always said that Tiger, the best player in the world, and in my opinion, the best player who has ever played the game. Of course he would be on my team. I said that at the U.S. PGA.”

Montgomerie was in damage-control mode over a story in The Sun UK on Monday with the not-so-subtle headline: “Monty: I’d Snub Tiger.”

Euro captain Monty insists he would pick other Americans ahead of Woods as he still has a lot to prove after the sex scandals that destroyed his marriage.

Monty said: "Tiger hasn't been himself on or off the course and it's a matter of seeing what he does." World No 1 Woods and the rest of the US team land in Cardiff today ahead of the clash which starts on Friday.

Asked who he would have if he could have the pick of the US players, Monty said: "Someone like a Jim Furyk or a Steve Stricker.

"They might not be household names but they're very steady.

"It's interesting I didn't mention Tiger. Obviously Tiger hasn't been himself."

At the PGA Championship last month, Montgomerie said he hoped Woods would be on the U.S. team because it would be a “bigger, better” event with the world's No. 1 player teeing it up.

“Of course, it's a huge aura playing against him, and something that my team will relish the opportunity of playing against what we all believe is the best player of our generation,” Montgomerie said last month.

Montgomerie is choosing his words carefully this week. Everything he does will be to gain some strategic edge, so it’s likely Montgomerie sees Tiger as a vulnerable spot for Team USA and wants to increase the pressure on him.

Sometimes it feels like Montgomerie is playing chess while Team USA captain Corey Pavin is playing checkers.

Camilo Villegas to appear naked in sports magazine
Following the trail blazed by the LPGA’s Christina Kim, Camilo Villegas will appear nude in ESPN The Magazine’s “Body Issue,” according to The New York Times.

Villegas’s body will be on display in all its naked glory in ESPN The Magazine’s coming Body Issue. The photo shoot took place a few months ago, in and around Villegas’s home in Jupiter, Fla.

“I haven’t seen the pictures,” he said. “I’m excited about it. I’m also a little anxious.”

Villegas, the 2008 Tour Championship winner, is used to being photographed, from close range, in awkward positions.

On Friday, as he hit his ball from a side hill lie in the rough, three photographers knelt on the ground or lay on their stomachs a few feet away, their lenses trained at him. Having nowhere to hide from the cameras is not the same as being fully exposed.

“It was uncomfortable,” Villegas said. “Getting naked in front of a camera is not what I do for a living. In those moments when it was really awkward, I kept thinking I’ve worked really hard to accomplish these results, and that helped me to relax.”

Proof once again that the most intense romance on Tour is the one between Villegas and himself.

Rocca screams for ice cream
Tom Kington of The Observer (UK) files a nice profile of Constantino Rocca, whose 4 & 2 victory over Tiger Woods is the only time a European player has ever beat Tiger in Ryder Cup singles. However, the best part of the story has nothing to do with Tiger or Rocca’s hurt feelings about not getting a nod for vice captain this year. It’s about what happened after John Daly beat him in a playoff at the 1995 British Open at St. Andrews.

"I said afterwards: 'No one remembers who comes second,' but strangely enough people remember the competition more for me than John Daly, as if I had won not him." When asked why he collapsed to the ground instead of leaping in the air, Rocca grins. "I was coming up the slope, it was just easier."

The fact Daly beat him makes him no less fond of the American. "The following week we played together in the Dutch Open and Häagen-Dazs sent ice cream to John and me at our hotel. I went down to get it and the receptionist said: 'John Daly took it all.' He beat me in the Open then stole my ice cream."

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