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Pavin considers Woods Cup partner

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Iain Carter | 18:01 UK time, Monday, 12 October 2009

It's a little under a year until the next Ryder Cup and Bonfire Night comes around somewhat sooner, but anyone expecting verbal fireworks from the captains of Europe and the United States is being left disappointed.

As the build up to the 2010 match continued with a special exhibition match between Colin Montgomerie and Corey Pavin on the TwentyTen course that will stage America's defence of the trophy, diplomacy was once again the only winner.

Neither skipper wants to put a word out of place as both put even the obdurate Geoffrey Boycott to shame when it comes to playing a straight bat.

So no crowing from Pavin in the wake of another handsome US victory in the President's Cup, no celebrating the fact that a ready-made partner for Tiger Woods has been found and no boasting that the world number one has now got the hang of team golf.

And from Monty there was no suggestion that the President's Cup is a poor imitation to the event where his Europe provides the American opposition.

Then again, did we expect anything different?

Both skippers are intelligent and articulate. They both know that this "countdown event" is nothing more than an exercise in keeping next year's contest on the map, plus a chance to make a corporate buck or two with a lavish gala dinner.

So it was quite in keeping that the nine hole exhibition clash, where Montgomerie partnered Chris Evans against Pavin and Welsh opera star Bryn Terfel, should finish all square.

United States Ryder Cup captain Corey Pavin meets the press
United States Ryder Cup captain Corey Pavin meets the press

Tellingly though, Pavin commented after generously conceding an early two and half footer: "It's probably not going to be like that a year from now."

Nor would we want it to be and despite the ongoing friendly phoney war next year's match is shaping up to be an epic contest.

The US have the nucleus of a side that threatens to be the strongest we've seen in Europe since their last away win in 1993.

Pavin admitted he has already been in contact with Freddie Couples and will seek a further debrief after his excellent stewardship at Harding Park.

Not that the Ryder Cup skipper will admit it, but his first question will surely be about how Couples handled Woods in the team environment.

Couples had the advantage of being great friends with Woods, who sank the winning putt and for the first time gained a one hundred percent record playing for his country as a professional.

In foursomes and fourballs Woods teamed up with Steve Stricker and they proved invincible.

"It's hard to find a partner for him that's comfortable with him and able to play their own game," Pavin admitted. "It's hard to play with the number one player in the world because you don't want to disappoint that player.

"Obviously Steve felt very comfortable with him. I watched some of the FedEx events and I watched them play together and their interaction was very good.

"But you never know what's going to happen in the next year. With those two you don't know how they're going to be playing a year from now. But it is a possible pairing, it may not happen as well."

Montgomerie is clearly of the opinion that his team may well have to face the Woods/Stricker combo and watched events in San Francisco with interest.

"Steve Stricker was actually outside Tiger on a number of occasions and holed the putt before Tiger had a chance, wow - you know they have a great team there and they did very well," Montgomerie told me.

"You would tend to expect that they might well be playing together (at Celtic Manor) but it's up to Corey, I can't be saying that. We'll just have to wait until the team is announced a year from now.

"The American team looks strong, there's no question. Paul Azinger got a great result, (in the last Ryder Cup) and they've now won the President's Cup. We have a job here to stop that roll.

"We have talent in Europe, but at the same time to give the American's momentum in any form is the wrong thing to give them. They have it right now in team golf and it's our job to regain that back," Montgomerie added.

Pavin expressed similar sentiments. It was another example of both skippers being largely in agreement and there's no sign of a falling-out in the near future.

"I think we have the same philosophy....." Pavin began. "We do," interrupted Monty. "We're both competitive and have the same views about competition and about the Ryder Cup," the Scot added.

Unperturbed by the interruption Pavin went on: "We both want to beat each others brains out here, we both want to win and we both respect that we both want to win and we have no issues with that. It is a respectful friendship that we have and it will always be that way."

He's probably right, but let's see when a two and a half footer isn't conceded in a little under a year from now.


  • Comment number 1.

    most captains get along- but it won't be long before OTHERS (not the gracious author of this coulumn, of course) but some will eventually start tearing and twisting up the two captains statements to create a problem or story where there isn't one. just give it some time...

  • Comment number 2.

    Good point "usedtobe" but worth remembering Pavin's behavior in previous ryder Cups. Desert storm hats and all that! Wouldn't be suprised to see a bit more of that sort of thing as we get nearer.

  • Comment number 3.

    I don't think we'll have to wait for others to twist their statements because so far Colin Montgomerie is finding something new to tell us each day. So, at this rate, it wont be long before he puts his own foot in it - his 'pencilled 12' was self-indulgent at best.

    He's very quotable, sure, and perhaps that's why the media can't get enough of him. But I can. I don't want to start Monty bashing - he's been a wonderful Ryder Cup player and many of the most incredible goose bump moments were created by his brilliance - but I have the same uneasy feeling about his leadership that I did with Faldo's. For a start, I'm spectacularly bored of him going on about 'my' team.

  • Comment number 4.

    #2 that's right- i've never been the biggest pavin fan for reasons such as that. i like to enjoy watching, but don't get so rah-rah about usa just b/c i was born in florida. never really understood the rallying for your country of birth. rather i like the different personalities of sport. (i also always rooted for lendl and noah when they played conners or whoever) azinger will go down as a great captain for winning, but what a snoozer in the booth. everyone i know puts the mute button on when that fella commentates. and b/c of the ryder cup win he's been invited back here and there dropping by the booth occasionally. just awful. but i'm sure he's another one popular w/ the troops. that's my BIG fear w/ pavin- what if he wins?? am i gonna have to listen to this guy commentate the rest of my life?? NO, pleeeaase. i feel like guys like az and pav want golf to be an american dominated thing and regret the globilization that brings us the interesting charachters like riyo ishikawa and adam scott...regarding monty- what a nice fella. my friend's mom showed he and his wife real estate around c fla years ago and he couldn't have been a nicer person...btw, notice the headline, "montgomerie targets woods scalp" shortly after my initial post??

  • Comment number 5.

    Have to say I agree with #4 (who agreed with #2 to an extent), but think that what you say about Pavin wanting to take Golf in general & "make it a US-dominated thing" may be his downfall. IMHO just another case of the US trying to make 'form is all - class is nowt' the decider; way before anything actually gets around to happening.
    I'll be amazed (in more than one way) if Tiger actually plays for the "Team", come the day, as he'll try to win it single-handed yet again - and come up short! Nothing against the Great man himself, as you can argue with neither his talent nor c.v. nor enthusiam; but you can see his record in this format - and that you can't argue with either!
    Monty 1 - Pav 0 ...............Well for me anyway.

  • Comment number 6.

    Is the date of the 2010 Ryder Cup the week following the PGA Tour Championship? If so, one would hope that represents a significant advantage to the European Team. Not wishing that Atlanta gets sideswiped by a tropical storm and pushes completion of the Tour Champ an extra day or two, nothing like that at all.



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