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Bernhard Langer of Germany poses with the trophy after announcing the European team (Photo: Getty Images)
Bernhard Langer of Germany poses with the trophy after announcing the European team (Photo: Getty Images)

Langer opts for Youth and Experience and Donald and Montgomerie get the Wild Card nod


September 01, 2004

European Team Captain Bernhard Langer opted for the tried and tested blend of youth and experience when he named his wild cards for The 35th Ryder Cup Matches at Oakland Hills Country Club next month, choosing England's Luke Donald and Colin Montgomerie of Scotland to complete his 12 man line up.

Donald and Montgomerie join Padraig Harrington, Sergio Garcia, Darren Clarke, Miguel Angel Jimenez and Lee Westwood from the World Points List and Thomas Levet, Paul Casey, David Howell, Paul McGinley and Ian Poulter from the European Points List on the plane to Detroit.

Langer was fulsome in his praise of both players, starting with the 41 year old Scot who will make his seventh appearance in the biennial contest against the United States.

"Colin has given us a great performance this week," said Langer. "To play that well knowing he still had to show me something, I gave nobody the nod and I did that for a reason.

"I wanted the guys to try as hard as they could until the very last putt was over with and show me what they are made of. And I'm very proud of him the way he played, especially this week, but also during the season.

"We know he's had some very difficult private times, which probably hurt his golf game for a period of several months, but I think and I know he's kind of over it a little bit. He's coming out at the other end of it. He's refocused and I think most importantly, I think he will rise to the occasion.

"We know there are players who crumble under pressure, and there are others who will thrive on it and I think he's one that thrives on it. I think his record proves that. So being Number 16 I think on the list, he was my first pick for those reasons."

But the Captain was also full of praise for Donald who will make his Ryder Cup debut in America.

"It was a little bit harder (choosing Luke) because of the other guys and how well they all played. They all had a right to be there, too. Again, Luke has had a tremendous last year, year and a half, " said Langer.

"He's performed extremely well in America. He's won a half million dollars on the US PGA Tour and he comes over here and wins the Scandinavian Masters and had very good performances the last few weeks when he knew the pressure was on.

"He came here knowing that he couldn't play his way onto the team, which shows me how much he wanted to be on the team. It would have been easy for him like some others to say, well, I don't have a chance, I should just stay home and take a week off. He didn't do that.

"And last, but certainly not least, he's got a tremendous Walker Cup record. I know Walker Cup is not quite on the same level as Ryder Cup, but it is match play. There is a lot of pride on the line and a lot of pressure, and he's performed extremely well there. I'm confident that the two guys I picked are the best two guys for the job."

Not surprisingly, the two men chosen exhibited a sensed share of both joy and relief that the tension had given way to delight.

"Obviously I am absolutely delighted to have been picked," said Donald. "To play in the Ryder Cup is a dream and it is something I have wanted to do ever since I turned professional and to get the chance now is just amazing.

"It was a very, very nervous day obviously, with all that was going on, on the golf course but it will prove to be a day to remember for me, the way things have turned out.

"Because I had to catch a plane I didn't even find out until the Press Conference had been going for, I guess about 20 minutes - Guy Kinnings at IMG texted me to say I was in and I was absolutely delighted - I was a little stuck for words when I read the text and I still am.

"I know I have played in the Walker Cup and played a lot in America but I can only imagine that the pressure will be totally different to anything I have ever experienced but I am really looking forward to it.

"I have played a lot in the US obviously, and I will be used to the course set up and the way their tournaments are run and I also have played against all the guys who will be in their team and know them too, so I know I will not be intimidated."

Colin Montgomerie said: "I am absolutely delighted but I was never 100 per cent sure that I would be selected but I made sure that I was thinking positively when I went to see Bernhard.

"Bernhard knows what I can do (in the Ryder Cup) because he's played with me and he felt that I could help his team. It has been a tough time for me recently and so this news is great news for me personally."

European Ryder Cup Team
Paul Casey (England)
Darren Clarke (Northern Ireland)
Luke Donald (England)
Sergio Garcia (Spain)
Padraig Harrington (Ireland)
David Howell (England)
Miguel Angel Jim�nez (Spain)
Thomas Levet (France)
Paul McGinley (Ireland)
Colin Montgomerie (Scotland)
Ian Poulter (England)
Lee Westwood (England)
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