herald

Thursday 16 August 2018

Mrs Montgomerie tops in battle of Ryder Cup wives

On the face of it, there is already a clear winner in the WAG stakes at the Ryder Cup. Lisa Pavin, the self-styled "Captainess" of the United States team, is the highest-profile wife yet for the event and has spent the past two years preparing intently for her husband Corey's big moment.

But the real, if understated, star of the show is the wife of Colin Montgomerie, the Europe team's captain.

Gaynor, who has adopted a minimum fuss approach to the role that might seem at odds with her vivacious personality, will be in the spotlight this evening at the first official function of the Ryder Cup, a dinner at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium. It could have been different.

A few months after her fairytale wedding in 2008 to Montgomerie, her new husband confessed that he had been having an affair with an old flame, placing his marriage, as he put it, "under considerable strain".

That scandal has been somewhat overshadowed by the plethora of "love rat" headlines devoted to Tiger Woods, who is, not surprisingly, unaccompanied this week at Celtic Manor.

But Montgomerie's indiscretions and the coverage of them were sufficiently embarrassing for him to be asked if he had considered resigning his captaincy (he had not) and for some commentators to suggest that had they been known about earlier, he might not have been chosen. After all, the PGA of America is impressed by the strength of Team Pavin and Mrs Pavin's passion for the event.

For some wronged wives, the Ryder Cup might have been the perfect opportunity for revenge and Mrs Montgomerie could have opted to kit the European WAGs out in lurid pantaloons and fed her husband bad jokes for his rousing speech. Instead, she is serenely performing her patriotic duty.

The most famous European Ryder Cup victory came at Oak Hill in 1995 when Nick Faldo defeated Curtis Strange. Bernard Gallacher, Faldo's captain, said there were two heroes for Europe: Faldo -- and Gill, his wife.

The reason for honouring her was that while Faldo was busy sinking his crucial putts, rumours were circulating that he was actually having an affair.

Two years ago Faldo's third wife, Valerie Bercher, put duty first when, although recently divorced from him, she accepted his invitation to be his First Lady for the 2008 Ryder Cup.

It is highly unlikely that Gaynor Montgomerie, who had no idea that her husband was a famous golfer when she was first introduced to him, danced a jig the way Lisa Pavin did upon learning that her husband would be a Cup leader -- Mrs Pavin worked as his personal assistant before dating him.

hnews@herald.ie

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