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Captains commence phoney war

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Rob Hodgetts | 07:02 UK time, Tuesday, 28 September 2010

A phoney war is being waged in Wales as Ryder Cup captains Colin Montgomerie and Corey Pavin lock horns for three days of bluff and intrigue at Celtic Manor.

Every utterance, every action will be scrutinised for signs of strength or weakness in the build-up to Friday's first tee-off.

The pair will compete in a series of challenges designed to test ambassadorial skills, leadership qualities, public speaking ability, charm... and a thorough knowledge of golf with specific reference to the matchplay format.

"I think the captains are more important than the players," said Padraig Harrington recently. "If Monty can get the pairings right and get the atmosphere going, we will win - and vice versa with Corey Pavin."

Whether you agree that the captain's role is key to the whole event, or think that he is just an overblown figurehead, there's no denying the sport of captain-watching makes for fascinating viewing.

Montgomerie has already admitted he has opted not to set up the course specifically to favour the Europeans; Pavin revealed he hasn't yet written a speech for the opening ceremony. Are these missed tricks, or just incidental irrelevances?

"The captains are forever trying to get an edge," says former Ryder Cup player and 1999 assistant captain Ken Brown. "'My speech was slightly better than your speech, my shoes are shinier than your shoes...' Each little ingredient, even if only in your own mind, is to give your team a little edge."

When Montgomerie and Pavin faced the media at Celtic Manor on Monday, the former assumed the air of a headmaster, revelling in the attention and the elder statesman role, a little too pleased with his own jokes, perhaps, but in formidable form.

The slightly built Pavin, quietly spoken, stared impassively ahead until questioned, interjecting answers with a gentle humour, almost unrecognisable from the moustachioed army-cap wearer from Kiawah Island in 1991. The old college nickname "Bulldog", though, suggests inner steel.

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Montgomerie explains tweeting ban

The pair first came under real scrutiny back when the team qualification process was nearing its climax. And while Pavin came through the wildcard wrangles relatively unscathed despite the will-he, won't he teaser over Tiger, Montgomerie is still trying to live down his decision not to pick Paul Casey.

The Englishman climbed to seventh in the world after finishing fourth in the finale of the FedEx Cup series on the US Tour on Sunday. If one of Montgomerie's side should drop out through illness or injury before 1500 BST on Thursday, he can select a replacement - but Casey has made it clear he will be mountain biking in Canada.

Pavin's chief issue at this stage is making sure wildcard Woods toes the party line and doesn't opt for his usual dawn practices away from the others.

The captains' first task was to issue a rallying call to their men on Monday night, as the players and backroom staff gathered in their respective team rooms in the temporary pavilion running along the left of the 18th fairway.

Europe have prided themselves on having superior team spirit but the noises coming from Nick Faldo's camp in 2008 were that the atmosphere was somewhat lacking, with Graeme McDowell revealing the "team room was not fizzing as it should have been".

Montgomerie's view, probably shared by the vast majority of the general public, is emphatic on that score. "If they [the players] need motivating, they shouldn't be here," he barked, his face suddenly as dark as the skies above the Usk Valley.

Faldo's counterpart at Valhalla, Paul Azinger, employed his by now famous pod system, borrowed from the US Navy Seals, placing his players in three groups of four to bring them closer together and develop camaraderie.

Was this the key to success, or was it a coincidence that his players performed better? We'll never know, but Pavin hasn't stuck with it.

The American's hardest job, he reckons, is to calm his young team down. "The guys are so excited to be here," he said.

The intrigue will ramp up over the next three days as the captains experiment with different groups, trying the nail the combinations without giving too much away.

They will finally put us out of our misery at Thursday's opening ceremony, an occasion which has taken on inflated significance over the years.

There have been good speeches and bad but the relationship between a captain's oratorial skills and a player's ability to hole a downhill double-breaker from 15 feet have yet to be fully researched. Suffice to say it is all part of the psychological warfare.

Montgomerie, who, like Sam Torrance in 2002, has prepared both a winning and losing speech for Sunday night, said a well-presented opener is crucial: "My job is to make sure my team leave thinking to themselves, 'Captain Monty, we'll be alright in his hands."

Pavin admitted hasn't got one speech yet, never mind two. "I just like to jot down a few notes and just speak from the heart," he said.

So what of the pairings for Friday morning?

Montgomerie has already revealed some of his hand, saying he knows his opening four groups, and has made no secret of the fact that the Molinari brothers will play together at some stage, as will Northern Irishmen McDowell and Rory McIlroy. That should narrow down the guesswork over the next few days, at any rate.

colpav595.jpgMontgomerie and Pavin face questions from the media. Photo: Getty Images

But what is it that the skippers are looking for in a pairing?

"Partnerships are all about chemistry," said McDowell. "Knowing each other's games, knowing how to interact with one another on the golf course. Having a good friendship is another factor. If we need lifting, we can. If we need calming down, we can."

The two different formats also play a role in determining pairings. Fourballs - where both partners play their own ball and take the lowest score - is all about making birdies and generally favours a more aggressive player. Foursomes - where they play one ball and hit alternate shots - requires a steadier approach.

"There's no magic answer," says Brown. "The key is players in form playing with people they feel comfortable with. I don't think the format really makes a huge difference."

How often a captain keeps any of the pairs together is another question and will largely depend on results.

"The key to being a good captain is being very open-minded and flexible," says Brown, who came close to taking over as captain in 1999 only for Mark James to just miss out on qualifying for his own team. "In theory, you can have automatic pairings but if one player is not playing very well you need a plan B and plan C."

James was heavily criticised for leaving out three players - Andrew Coltart, Jarmo Sandelin and Jean van de Velde - for the first two days of the 1999 contest at Brookline. His side led 10-6 going into the singles but were eventually beaten 14-5-13.5.

"It is my belief that using just the minimum of eight players over the first four sessions would be the right tactic if it gained you the maximum number of Friday and Saturday points," says Torrance.

However, Montgomerie has already pledged to give all 12 players an outing on the first day, while Pavin is keeping his options open.

If getting the pairings right is the number one priority for the captain, nailing the singles order must rank second.

Torrance's captaincy is hailed as the benchmark in 2002, when, with the sides locked at 8-8, he sent out Montgomerie first and loaded his top order with strength.

US captain Curtis Strange was shell-shocked when it became clear the match may be over before his big guns Woods and Phil Mickelson could fire. And so it proved as Europe ran out convincing 15.5-12.5 winners.

According to Brown, this now seemingly obvious tactic of front-loading was borne out of the 1999 defeat. Then, James peppered his strength throughout but was scuppered when the US mounted a dazzling comeback, winning the first six matches.

Brown says that, in hindsight, they concluded that the order was a mistake.

Faldo's singles order was also criticised in 2008, with Harrington and Lee Westwood held back until the end. But while hindsight is 100% accurate, it's also 100% useless. How could the skipper have foreseen, for example, that Sergio Garcia would surrender so tamely in the first group?

"You can really overthink it," says Brown. "No matter how good the captain is, if your team doesn't play the best, you're not going to win."

Montgomerie and Pavin will have learnt many lessons from past captains and watching them negotiate the Ryder Cup minefield will be intriguing, and great fun. But, in the final analysis, it's how the 24 blokes holding the clubs get on that really matters.


  • Comment number 1.

    Lets hope it's not a battle of wits or Europe will get thrashed.

  • Comment number 2.

    In the previous Ryder Cup, Ian Poulter was Europe's best player? But who will he play with at this Ryder Cup? Justin Rose perhaps? What do people think will be Monty's first pairings on Friday?

  • Comment number 3.

    Good post except for the Casey nonsense again. I moaned about this on 606 because you all keep thinking Casey is next in line for call up -HE IS NOT!! Monty made it clear at the wildcard press conference that Rose would be selected as he was next on the world list. Where none of the bbc golf pundits at this press conference!!

  • Comment number 4.

    dmrichkt and many more posters on the 606 forum will most likely be eating some humble pie come Sunday evening. He must be having a laugh if he is suggesting the US would win in a battle of wits.

    Montgomerie has done everything spot on in preparation for the weekend, he has treated the role and his players with respect unlike his predecessor. Monty is a Ryder cup legend, I could not care less if he has a gruff manner - he is unmatched when it comes to beating the yanks. Anyone who has not noticed this is hardly qualified to comment on anyone elses 'wits'.

  • Comment number 5.

    I'm not sure there is a phoney war here. Faldo forgetting his players' names, having DJ Spoony in the team room and only having one vice-captain were just crass errors. What we have are two of the most tenacious and eloquent captains who have, apart from picking Harrington (but Casey's attitude stinks) played a blinder so far. Monty hasn't set the course up but doesn't need to because it isn't a bombers course and there is no ban on the use of Twitter, just a request to be respectful to the team. Stuff the media pick up on have just been dealt with as well as either captain could have.

    However, the pairings are crucial. Hanson has no natural partner and will need to be accomodated. Apart from McIroy and McDowell and Molinaries, the decisions will be tricky. For USA, Woods/Stricker is a given and maybe Furyk/Johnson but everything else is key decision making.

    The hardest part of captaining is yet to come.

  • Comment number 6.

    #2, You know what your talking about eh?

    1st pairings might be Woosnam/Alliss, Brown/James, Lyle/Jacklin....... well you know what I mean, if you're going to post, please read up!!!!

    C'mon Europe, Casey, please stay in Canada!

  • Comment number 7.

    #5- what on earth on you on about saying 'Casey's attitude stinks'?

    Paul has been nothing if not exeplorary since Monty named the team and he found out he wasn't in it. In all the interviews he's conducted he's been diplomatic and has refused to criticse teh decision to elave him out. Doubtless, he feels aggrived at his omission- he probebely feels his world ranking, his long-straight hitting and his good record in Ryder Cups and matchplay in general shoudl ahve been enough to get him a pick in a season where he's stuggled with injury at the start. But there's been no spitting out of dummies or toys being thrown out the pram as there was with Thomas Bjorn in 2002 (He objected to Ian Woosnam naming Clarke and Westwood as picks ahead of himself and wasn't afraid to let the press know this!)

    If by 'attitude stinks' you mean 'won't play inEurope' then get your facts right, first. Casey has played on 12 Euro Tour events this season- that's more than captain's picks Donald & Harrington (The latter having played THREE TIMES on the Euro tour this season at the time the picks were named). It's also more than McIlroy and Poulter who've made the team as of right (the latter via The Euro points list).

    If you don't think Casey's a good enough golfer, fair enough- a Euro victory this week may prove you point. But to claim he has a personality/attitude problem is absolute nonsense.

  • Comment number 8.

    #5 & #7, Re Paul Casey.

    I think #5 is probably referring to Casey's comments about being mountain biking during the RC and thus making himself unavailable for selection in the event of injury/injuries. Agree that to suggest that his attitude stinks on this basis is a little harsh.

    Put yourself in the players shoes: you are bitterly disappointed to not be selected for the squad despite some great form. You accept this decision, by and large in good grace and are supportive of your team's cause. Should he also be expected to sit, watch and wait by the phone for the coming week on the off-chance he may be required or should he just get on with his life? The RC isn't like a football club where you're under contract and so can be expected to be on standby. You either make the team or you don't. If you don't, its perfectly reasonable to make alternative arrangements. If I was Casey I certainly wouldn't want to be watching this weekend.

  • Comment number 9.

    #8- In which case it's even more of a non-sequitor to criticise Casey's attitude for not making himself availible to cover injuries etc.

    Firstly the only European player with any injury worries is Lee Westwood, who has repleatedly and publicly stated he will be fit. So no sense waiting around for that, then!

    Secondly, Monty stated that if Lee wasn't availible then the place would go to the next palyer on the World Points list (the list Lee qualified from). that player,a s Monty aknowledged, is Justin Rose, not Casey.

    If by a player from The European list suddenly breaks down, the next player on that list is, i think, Simon Dyson.

    It would take a highly unliekly sequence of events to see Casey actively involevd in the RC. And, like you, I don't blame his for wanting to keep himself to himself for the duration of the Match.

  • Comment number 10.

    I heard on the radio that one bookmaker have already paid out on a European win. Admittedly im not a massive golf fan but I do follow the Ryder cup, is it that much of a foregone conclusion? We are still talking about USA here aren’t we? I know inform Woods isn’t the greatest when it comes to this event and he is far from inform but they still have considerable strength in depth do they not?

    Contrary to what I have said above I do think Europe will win but its not going to be a walk in the park.

    Ronan Kearney- Severe lack of knowledge my friend.

  • Comment number 11.

    #10 - it's not a foregone conclusion by any stretch of the imagination. Bookmakers often do this as a means of gaining publicity. They will know exactly how much it will cost and the media do the rest. I would imagine that only a limited number of bets will have been made on the Ryder cup in the lead up to the event therefore it won't have cost them as much as you think to pay out early.

  • Comment number 12.

    Deep-heat, re: your post#8:
    I'm with you, that I don't particularly think that his attitude 'stinks', as another poster put it, But...

    He is a very good, and experienced RC player of former years - I'd just have thought he's turned this into a 'missed opportunity'. As disappointed as he was (and probably still is), he does know the value of cameraderie in the team, and that anything external (i.e. his situation), just detracts from that. Can you imagine if he'd said to himself, 'Yep, I'm gutted - how do I make sure I don't miss out again?' - then turned up to support the European team this weekend, with all the press attention that would've generated. I reckon that would've been worth a point in itself; and as a by-product, he'd have put his name in the frame as a potential future RC captain (as well as keeping his name high up on the wild-card picks for the next few, if he didn't qualify on merit).
    Just an opinion - feel free to shoot it down.

  • Comment number 13.

    #12, StretchForTheLine....

    Hmmmm. Not sure I buy that one, but I kind of see where you're coming from. I actually think Casey's presence would have the reverse effect. I think that the players know that there is a huge amount of goodwill towards Casey from pretty much all the fans, but also that a significant number of fans (possibly even players?) think that he should have been selected. If Casey was present at the RC then I think that it could potentially have a negative impact on the players' confidence - the golfing equivalent of the ghost of Banquo maybe?

  • Comment number 14.

    RE my comment "Casey's attitude stinks". Casey stated that after the USPGA "he could do no more" when he obviously could have played in the last three european tour RC counting events. He didn't need to play the first Fed-ex event. If he REALLY wanted the RC place, he had a choice. Jiminez cancelled a family wedding he was that motivated to be on the teamn and watchng Hanson nearly implode with nerves and Molinari's sublime finish at Gleneagles just tells you what these guys put themselves through just for the chance to make it (remember Hanson HAD to win).

    That said, I agree Casey has dealt with the situation graciously (cf. Bjorn as pointed out by someone else) and Monty should have picked him ahead of Harrington. He is actually one of my favourite players but I'll never forgive him for "I can't do any more" comment. That just sticks in my craw. Europe are weaker w/o him and it is really his fault for putitng Monty in such a dilemma.

  • Comment number 15.

    I have to agree with #12, If Casey were to come to Wales and support team Europe, I think it would do him all ends of good in the future.

    I also dont buy the issue with it affecting the team adversely.

    I think it would give them a bit more togetherness as he was there supporting the team, even though he was not picked.

    Although I have no problem with Casey.

  • Comment number 16.

    #14- Re: Casey's comment at the PGA Champtionship. Paul casey chose to paly in the FedEx Cup- and,a s it turns out, did rather well in it. His schedule to play in this would have been worked out long in advance- probably in at the start of the season!
    How is Paul casey to be blamed for chosing to play in an extremely lucrative string of events? The first event of The FedEx Cup (The Barclays) clashed with the final European qaulifying event. This was pointed out a long time ago, and nothing was done about it- not even delay the announcement of the team until the outcome at the barclays was known (Casey did quite well and outperformed the two captains picks- Donald and Harrington- who were both playing the event!)
    Casey, as I pointed out, has already played in twleve ET events this season (more than any of his PGA TOUR-based rivals for a pick) and would have had no garauntee of pciking up enough qaulifying points from the Czech Open, anyway- he was never going to chose the Johnnie Walker over The Barclays- and trying to paly the Czech Open would have meant a frantic two weeks of trans-altlantic hoping between the PGA Championship and The Barclays. Not good preperation for a four week stretch of ultra-competative golf, I'm sure you'd agree.
    Was Casey's priority The Ryder Cup? Probabaly not- he's played on winning teams on both sides of the Atlantic- alreday. Is his priority PGA TOUR/Major wins? You betcha, since he has only one tour win and no majors. Is he dissapointed to not make the RC team? Almost certainly. Does favouring his own ranking/carrer prospects by playing more on the more competitive and more lucrative PGA TOUR make him a bad person? Not in my view

    I hope Paul Casey picks up a few more PGA TOUR wins and a major next season just to shut everyone up for good.

  • Comment number 17.

    Monty has already played a blinder in picking Garcia as a vice captain, because he, as much as anyone provides the ability to "wind up" the Americans, just by his presence

  • Comment number 18.

    # 1 ., absolutely correct

    look at Monty's efforts so far

    1. has written a loser's speech and admitted it too !

    2. told us which american players he would have in his team ( when he should have said " none of them" )

    3. says he is setting up the course fairly for everybody.( when it is well recognised that the thing to do when you are home captain is to set the course up to benefit your own players )

    4. his wildcard picks ( ok - i know this has been debated already)

    if Europe win, it will be despite having Monty as Captain

  • Comment number 19.

    I honestly doubt that players will be crying into their breakfasts come Friday wishing that Paul Casey was in the team. There are 12 absolute World Class players in that team with a superb Captain behind them who has seen and done everything that the Ryder Cup can throw at you. It's true that Casey is a great golfer but he didn't qualify automatically or gain a pick and that is that. I just hope for plenty of European birdies and a win come Sunday tea time.

    On a side note, what is the story with the American blazer and bell bottom combo? No wonder some of them had shades on to hide the tears in their eyes...

  • Comment number 20.

    Don Rossi, I disagree. Monty has been honest in his assessment of the players at his disposal and everyone knows he's a straight talker. On each of your comments:
    1) If anything it shows that he is level-headed and carefully methodical in his planning. personally I'd be more worried about the "speak from the heart" approach.
    2)You can't always adopt the approcah of beingblind to other talent. He's shiowing no complacency and knows the test that lies ahead. He'll make sure his players know it too.
    3)This is a bit of a contentious one - it'll fire up his own players knowing their performance, not the course, will determine the outcome, and I have no doubt that Monty is pretty sure the course does suit Europe.
    4) Monty knows his team - it's about a "team", and if he feels that casey would offer less than PH then that's a call as captain he was elected to make and I think people should get behind the decision.

    If we win, he'll be vindicated. If not, lessons will be learned if its clear mistakes were made.


  • Comment number 21.

    What's with all the Paul Casey cheerleading?

    Why did he have to play the 1st of the 4 Fed Ex tournaments?

    Think you'll find that Jim Furyk never played in the 1st one, he was DQ'd before the first round. If Casey is as good as people are saying he could have come across here, shown a bit of commitment to the cause, then went back to play in the 2nd one and still competed. As it is, he put his own career ahead of the Ryder Cup. That's fine, but don't expect any favours when the picks arrive.

    He's a bottler anyway, a player ranked 7 in the world, with only 1 PGA tour win, he has put himself in position numerous times but cracks. He needs to grow a pair!!

  • Comment number 22.

    # 20
    jcb211 - good reply - i understand your points

    perhaps i was hoping for more of a Fergie/Seve type of approach in Monty's captaincy - ie siege mentality - them and us - try and show no weakness.
    this type of approach has worked well for Europe previously but maybe not now that Europe are favourites

  • Comment number 23.

    Is it just me or does the qualification criteria for the Ryder Cup seem a little out if a player ranked 7th in the world doesn't automatically qualify. Or is it that the world rankings are meaningless. Surely only one can be correct? Either the Ryder cup rankings show who the best players are or the world rankings?
    Casey should be there as a great matchplayer, his world ranking and good performances in the majors.

  • Comment number 24.

    Whilst I’m a fan of Montgomerie I think to some extent the Captains role is over estimated. Yes, its important to get the pairings right but the players will have a large say in it those anyway, and yes, its important to prepare well and ensure everything is in place caddies, wives, etc etc put the main responsibility lies with the players and how they perform.

    Many people will mention picking the order on Sunday but surely this is not rocket science, if its tight you topload like Torrance did in 2002, if you are behind you topload like Crenshaw in 1999 and if your ahead you should spread strength as USA will topload.

    Whilst Faldo did make some mistakes in his speech, sandwich gate pairing I honestly don’t think these made a difference – yes he got his Sunday order wrong but it was all down to the players and how well the USA played. I can never recall so many USA putts being holed over that weekend.

    It will be the same this weekend, who holes the key puts and who misses key puts and that I’m afraid has very little to do with the captains.

    All you need to do is look back to Kiawah Island in the early 90’s. Langer has a putt to win or a missed putt to lose. How can a captain be overly hailed or criticised if that goes in or stays out.

    Like many a football manager will say – there is nothing you can do when they cross the white line. And come this weekend, there will be nothing Monty or Pavin can do when the players are out on the course. Only encouragement and players are too professional in their approach these days mentally and physically to be told to how to prepare.

    The biggest challenge Pavin and Monty have is making sure the team spirit is there and for Europe I think that will come just as much from the vice captains as it will from Monty.

    Personally I hope, but more importantly I believe Europe will win. Their players are on top form and I think accuracy off the tee will prevail. Molinari brothers, Hanson, Jiminez, Kaymer, Poulter, Westwood, Donald, McDowell and even Fisher all solid and straight off the tee. Then you look at USA - Woods, Mickelson, Watson, Johnson, Kucher (particularly last weekend), Cink, Overton and Fowler are all guys who find the rough just as much as they find the fairway.

    The rough is 4 inches thick and lush and if your not hitting fairways your definitely not making birdies and possibly bogeys instead and that will be the difference.

  • Comment number 25.

    Montgomery is a simply a nasty, dismissive ,arrogant, sneering piece of work who lacks respect from all that ever have teh misfortune to cross his path.The European team must be ashamed and perlexed in equal measures to have such low life as a representative.He will add nothing in judgement or class to the proceedings.

  • Comment number 26.

    Tea Time At Harrods:
    I haven't met Monty personally, but I hope such a damning indictment and character assassination is steeped in some serious personal issue with him, otherwise it sounds as if you mirror your comments more accurately than Monty does. If it is, I would suggest that this forum isn't the place for it. Either way, you come across very poorly.

  • Comment number 27.


    Hear! Hear!

    Tea Time At Harrods - Monty may not be the most accessible person, but he has been a fantastic contributor to the Ryder Cup. This comment is totally unacceptable.

  • Comment number 28.

    To Tea Time At Harrods,

    I have met Monty and found him to be a very engaging and pleasant character. He did not speak highly of you though.

    Monty wants to play it fair, he was truly appalled by the scenes at Brookline which so upset his father. I am hoping for a good sporting contest played in the right spirit with fair and respectful spectators.

  • Comment number 29.

    Montgomerie in my humble opinion couldn't motivate a sloth. He is one of the most arrogant people ever to have played golf and is full of excuses when things don't go his way. I keep wondering what special qualities he has and to date can't think of any unlike previous Ryder Cup Captains.

    I attended the Open at St Andrews this year and sat at the practice ground on one of the days. Monty turned up twenty minutes before his tee time and spent most of that time chatting. I also saw him wandering around with a large sheaf of paper trying to look very important - official business don't you know. He wouldn't sign autographs or speak to kids who had been waiting around tp see him on the practice days. It costs nothing to be civil to people.

    How is this awful man going to motivate a team when he can't motivate himself. It's just as well his vice captians are sensible level headed people.

    If Europe wins it won't be down to Monty.

  • Comment number 30.

    Montgomerie's behaviour so far in all aspects of the Ryder Cup have been first class. Like most people, I doubted the selection of Harrington over Rose or Casey, but that apart, he has been a model of captaincy. His problem about being grumpy is that he needs to be loved. His Ryder Cup record was built on a wave of support by the European fans, his grumpy demeanor was built on the "Mrs Doubtfire" escapade and lots of US fans giving him continuous stick. With Ryder Cup style support, Colin Montgomerie would have won more than one major. If you are European, get behind him and the team and stop criticising. That will give them the lift they need and allow them the opportunity to win back the Ryder Cup from a very good US team.

  • Comment number 31.

    Comments from #25 and #29 say more about themselves than about Monty.

    You've never met this guy so I find it strange that you can be so vociferous and personal in your criticism of him. Monty has got appealing abuse from the American public and from the Tabloids here, who cares if he is a bit arrogant - Seve and Faldo are arrogant but your not slagging them for it.

    Monty is a Ryder cup legend, has a great feel for team golf and has the full backing of all 12 guys teeing up on Friday. He has been taking cheap shots at the Ryder cup from muppets like #25, #29 for years but still cant be matched when it comes to whipping American ass which is exactly what he will be doing again this weekend:).

  • Comment number 32.

    Firstly, apologies for my Poulter/Rose comnination error, serious brain malfunction! I meant Poulter and Ross Fisher as a duo on friday, although given the early practice rounds, the only two certain pairings seem to be McDowell/McIlroy and the Molinari's.
    As a Poulter fan, I hope that his tournament is as successful as it was in 2008, however he was the main talking point on that occasion in which he thrived. It may be a different situation this time around with Harrington in that position.

    Has anyone got any views on potential top points scorers for each team? I am thinking Kaymer for Europe and Dustin Johnson for the US.

  • Comment number 33.

    Ha! That's a great article bingo fans. Thank you for that. I can't say that I agree fully about certain comments about specific players but I have to admit that I enjoyed reading this and all the comments posted. Kudos to all .

  • Comment number 34.

    #31. datsacracker.

    Actually I have met Monty on several occasions so my opinion of him is based on fact. How arrogant are you in suggesting that I am not entitled to voice my opinion.

    By the way Miss Piggy is my sister.


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