Reuters - Tue, 02 Feb 13:53:00 2010
A Ryder Cup without world number one Tiger Woods is a diminished event, according to European captain Colin Montgomerie.
Woods, who is taking an indefinite break from golf, has been in hiding since admitting in December he had cheated on his wife.
"I do think it will be diminished if he doesn't play (at the Ryder Cup in October) but at the same time that's up to him and America," said Montgomerie ahead of this week's Dubai Desert Classic.
"Any event he enters is a bigger and better event because of him and I hope he does play."
Woods also missed the 2008 edition of the biennial team event as he was recuperating from knee surgery.
Montgomerie was speaking on the same day it was announced that Emirates would be the official airline of the Ryder Cup match between the US holders and Europe in Wales.
The 46-year-old Briton also spoke of world number two Phil Mickelson's controversial use of a 20-year-old Ping-Eye 2 wedge with square grooves at last week's San Diego Open.
"It's for the authorities to get together and decide that this is really not the way to go," said Montgomerie.
"He has found a loophole in the laws and he's using it but ... it's not really what we're looking for."
As of January 1, new rules relating to club-face grooves were implemented at the top level after research found modern configurations could allow players to generate almost as much spin with irons from the rough as from the fairway.
All clubs, with the exception of drivers and putters, have been affected by the change which limits groove volume and groove-edge sharpness, effectively replacing U-grooves with V-grooves.
The Ping-Eye 2 wedge used by Mickelson and a handful of other players, although containing square grooves, is deemed legal because of a lawsuit won by its manufacturer over the USGA in 1990.
PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem is scheduled to discuss the grooves dispute with players later on Tuesday in the build-up to this week's Northern Trust Open in Los Angeles.
Montgomerie also turned his attention to the recent return to form of Ryder Cup stalwart Robert Karlsson and likely rookie Martin Kaymer.
Swede Karlsson won an individual tournament for the first time in 16 months when he lifted the Qatar Masters trophy on Sunday while German Kaymer triumphed at the Abu Dhabi Championship two weeks ago.
"(He is a) good match-player Robert Karlsson, good golfer and nice guy too, and I am delighted he won in Qatar and of course delighted about Martin Kaymer," said Montgomerie.
"Both have come back from injury ... for Paul Casey also to contend last week after injury as well ... it's all looking very strong for the team."