Clarke off to rousing start but Harrington and Montgomerie reach turn one down
Steven Franklin, Press Officer
22 September 2006
After the strong winds and driving rain, The 2006 Ryder Cup at The K Club started amid sunshine and to the soundtrack of throaty roars from some uniquely passionate galleries.
World Number Three Jim Furyk of the United States struck the first tee shot at 8am and found the fairway, before his playing partner, Tiger Woods, hooked his drive into the water on the left-hand side of the first hole.
Colin Montgomerie of Scotland led the European Team off the first tee, his drive landing in the right hand semi-rough, before the crowds roared home favourite Padraig Harrington’s first strike straight down the middle.
The huge galleries provided an unforgettable reception for every player on the first tee, although the warmest welcome of all was saved for Ulsterman Darren Clarke in the last match.
Clarke repaid the support in exactly the right way, by holing for birdie at the first to take him and partner Lee Westwood into an early lead against Phil Mickelson and Chris DiMarco and send deafening cheers around the Palmer Course.
On the same green moments earlier, Sergio Garcia had also made three to take the lead with fellow Spaniard José Maria Olazábal against David Toms and Brett Wetterich.
These were just two moments in a morning of brilliant golf.
The top match was very evenly balanced. Woods struggled early on but Furyk compensated with some excellent play and a nine iron to eight feet at the first set up a winning birdie.
A par at the fifth was good enough to haul Harrington and Montgomerie back to all square before the European duo took the lead two holes later.
All four players hit poor drives off the seventh tee and after Harrington and Furyk had both found the greenside lake with their approaches, Montgomerie edged out Woods with a birdie putt from three feet.
Europe’s lead lasted only a few minutes as an out-of-sorts Woods produces his best shot of the round so far, a punched eight iron to just four feet of the cup at the 173 yard eighth. Harrington and Montgomerie miss their long birdie putts and Woods calmly holes to square the match once again.
At the ninth it was Furyk’s turn to star, with the 36 year old holing a 25 foot uphill putt for a three to send the Americans into the back nine one ahead.
At that stage the Europeans were up in two matches, with the third all square between Clarke/Westwood and Mickelson/DiMarco.
England’s Paul Casey and Sweden’s Robert Karlsson were two-up on Stewart Cink and JJ Henry through eight holes - thanks to Casey’s stunning eagle three at the fourth and Karlsson’s par four at the seventh - while a surging Sergio and Olazábal were a hole up on David Toms and Brett Wetterich after seven holes.
Sunday Video Recap
Check out all the great highlights from Sunday's European victory. Watch
- 1969: Tony Jacklin and Jack Nicklaus on the final hole of the final day.