Ryder Cup LogoRyder Cup: Team USASeptember 22-24 2006, The K Club, Straffan, County Kildare, Ireland
Story Image Colin Montgomerie and Padraig Harrington during practice on Wednesday

Monty and Padraig Looking to Take Down the Tiger Once More

Colin Montgomerie and Padraig Harrington cannot wait to get started in the opening Fourball match of The 2006 Ryder Cup, when they will come up against World Number One Tiger Woods and Jim Furyk

Michael Gibbons, Press Officer
21 September 2006

Colin Montgomerie and Padraig Harrington have revealed their excitement at the prospect of starting Europe’s bid to win an historic third successive Ryder Cup with a victory over Tiger Woods and Jim Furyk in Friday morning’s opening Fourball fixture.

The European pair have played together four times in The Ryder Cup, winning three points. The most memorable of those three wins was at Oakland Hills two years ago when they overcame Woods and Mickelson 2 and 1 to set the tone for Europe’s landslide victory.

The Scotsman and the Irishman’s Ryder Cup partnership began in 2002 when they defeated Mickelson and David Toms in the second day Fourballs before that wonderful win in America two years ago.

“I’m really looking forward to it,” said Montgomerie. “Padraig is a great partner to have and I wanted to partner him again and we will try our best to lead off in style. We are leading out as I have done a lot in this event and it is almost my role here – to start off this thing is great and we will try our best with it.

“The first morning of a Ryder Cup is a very important morning. This is obviously Woosie’s idea of the team he wanted to put out on the first morning and here’s hoping we can do what we did in 2004.”

Harrington, who along with his fellow Irishmen Darren Clarke and Paul McGinley, were given an unbelievable reception when they were introduced at Thursday afternoon’s opening ceremony, said: “The excitement is building now, you can sense that out there. I’d say it is going to be spectacular tomorrow. I think it will definitely be a case of the hairs standing up on the back of your neck and not just for the first shot, for all the shots.”

Remarkably, Furyk is the 11th different player to partner Woods in this, the World Number One’s fifth Ryder Cup appearance, which is a statistic that gives some credence to the argument that Woods struggles to adjust to a Team matchplay format.

The tried and tested formula of Montgomerie and Harrington will be followed by perhaps the most surprising of Ian Woosnam’s pairings for the Friday morning Fourballs, Paul Casey and Robert Karlsson, who will go up against Stewart Cink and JJ Henry.

The Englishman and the Swede will face a serious battle in match two. Cink is unbeaten in his two previous Fourball matches in The Ryder Cup. The American ended Montgomerie and Harrington’s unbeaten partnership at Oakland Hills alongside Davis Love III, having won half a point in the company of Chris Reilly before that win.

Sergio Garcia and José Maria Olazábal, Europe’s third group for Friday morning, who will take on Toms and Brett Wetterich, are playing together for the first time. Garcia is playing in his 16th consecutive Ryder Cup game, having played in every session of the last three Ryder Cups.

Olazábal, meanwhile, formed the most successful Ryder Cup partnership in history alongside Seve Ballesteros. The Spanish duo won 11 of their 15 games and halved two, a quite unbelievable record that Olazábal and Garcia will be looking to emulate.

The two Spaniards will be followed by Darren Clarke and Lee Westwood, who will face Phil Mickelson and Chris DiMarco in the fourth and final Fourball match of Friday.

The Europeans have played alongside each other six times, winning four points, while Mickelson and DiMarco are partnering each other for the first time in a Ryder Cup. Their partnership is not untried though – they have played together in two Presidents Cups (2003 and 2005), winning three and a half points against the Rest of the World Team last year, which resulted in them becoming the USA’s most successful pairing.

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