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European team player Padraig Harrington of Ireland chats with Colin Montgomerie of Scotland at the 35th Ryder Cup Matches at Oakland Hills Country Club in Bloomfield Township, Michigan.(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
European team player Padraig Harrington of Ireland chats with Colin Montgomerie of Scotland at the 35th Ryder Cup Matches at Oakland Hills Country Club in Bloomfield Township, Michigan.(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

European Players Look Ahead to The Start of the Ryder Cup

September 16, 2004

What a way to start The 35th Ryder Cup Matches! It is the tussle that everyone wanted and one which sent an electrifying buzz around Oakland Hills Country Club, Padraig Harrington and Colin Montgomerie against Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods.

The first fourball match at 8.10am is a truly mouthwatering clash and Montgomerie - the most experienced Ryder Cup player of the 24 in action this week - summed up what the atmosphere will be like.

"Everyone involved in that group, the four players, the four caddies, everyone, will have the hair on the back of their neck standing up," said the 41 year old Scot.

Montgomerie also took a moment to reflect on what being chosen to participate in such a prestigious match meant personally to him after what has been a difficult year on and off the course.

"From where I was in my life in April on the Sunday after I finished the British Masters, to where I am now, I have come a long way, it is a different world," he said.

"For one, I am honoured to be part of this team and this set-up, and two, to have such a good friend and captain in Bernhard Langer who thinks so much of me and for him to have the confidence in what Padraig and I have to do tomorrow morning - I am so proud of myself that I have managed to get to this stage.

"But forgetting all that, we have a job to do and I have a great partner, a fantastic partner and whoever we were playing, we were going to be confident and there is no reason why we still can't be confident. We can win that game."

Harrington said: "It is what we expected. It is exactly as we predicted. No surprise to us. That's the way we wanted it. Colin and I get on very well. Certainly I have a lot of respect for his game. He is someone I played with in the last Ryder Cup and I am looking forward to playing with him in this one."

Match Two at 8.25am sees Darren Clarke and Miguel Angel Jim?nez tackle Chad Campbell and Davis Love III.

Clarke said: "Obviously, we are looking forward to the match and can't wait for it all to get started really. We have done all we can in practice and I think both Miguel and I are eager to get the match and the whole Ryder Cup started.

"We have played a couple of practice rounds together and he is playing fantastically well and I am looking forward to partnering him. We get on well together, he is a great guy and we have gelled really well on the course.

"Davis and Chad are two good guys and obviously great players so it should be great match. I'm really looking forward to it."

Jim?nez added: "My initial reaction? Wow! It is going to be a very interesting match. We are both playing very well and I think all the pairings are very good, the way they are set up. We hope tomorrow to have some luck on the golf course."

Match Three at 8.40am sees Paul McGinley, the man who holed the winning putt at The De Vere Belfry, partner rookie Luke Donald - the only one of the five first timers in action on the first morning - against Chris Riley and Stewart Cink.

Donald said: "Really looking forward to it. Bernhard obviously has some trust in my game and really looking forward to it. It has been a long few days and looking forward to it all starting off eventually."

Finally, the session is ended with match at 8.55am between Sergio Garcia and Lee Westwood -
who won three points together at The De Vere Belfry in 2002 - against David Toms and Jim Furyk.

"It's great," said Westwood. "We have had three practice rounds together and from last time we had a good record together at the Belfry. I'm playing a bit better now so we should do well. We get on very well, that's the main explanation for it.

"We have a good time out there. A good laugh, don't take it too seriously and get on with the job. We play well together. Sergio is playing very well. He played nine holes out there the other day in six or seven under par. He is a class act. It's nice to have him as a partner."

Garcia added: "Looking forward to it. We had some good vibrations at the Belfry and hopefully we can keep it going this week. All the pairings are very equal so it can definitely go either way but hopefully we can get off to a good start and put ourselves up there."

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