Monty lavishes praise on Tiger
Colin Montgomerie welcomes Tiger Woods (AFP)
Newport - Europe captain Colin Montgomerie lavished praise on Tiger Woods here on Monday as the golf superstar arrived with his US team-mates ahead of this week's Ryder Cup clash.
Montgomerie hailed Woods as the best golfer "that has ever played the game" after the Americans touched down in Wales on a chartered jet ahead to begin the defence of their title at Celtic Manor.
"I've always said that Tiger is the best player in the world and the best player, in my opinion, that has ever played the game," Montgomerie said.
"I am delighted to see Tiger here. We welcome him with open arms. It is the first time he will have played golf in Wales as a professional, and we just looking forward to seeing him play."
Montgomerie's gushing praise of Woods was in contrast to comments over the weekend, when he named US duo Jim Furyk and Steve Stricker as the two members of the American team he would most like to have in European ranks.
Montgomerie said Woods - who has struggled with his game after returning from a lay-off after problems in his private life - was "not himself."
However Montgomerie was effusive in his assessment of Woods on Monday after he had greeted the superstar and his team-mates on the airport tarmac.
And he defended Woods' record in the Ryder Cup, which has rarely been a happy hunting ground for the world number one.
"A lot has been written about Tiger's performances in the Ryder Cup, it's just that it is poorer than his individual record, which is extreme," Montgomerie said later.
"We look forward to seeing how Tiger is going to be playing and who he is going to be playing with, and see how we can counteract that, I suppose."
The opening fourballs begin at Celtic Manor on Friday.