Harrington and Montgomerie Look Set in Stone
European Captain Woosnam sends his team out for the final practice session of The 2006 Ryder Cup and looks to have a firm idea of his pairings ahead of the first day.
Rod Williams, Press Officer
21 September 2006
The partnership between Padraig Harrington and Colin Montgomerie, which worked so well on the first day at Oakland Hills two years ago in toppling Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson in the top match, will be given another airing on the third practice day, fuelling speculation that Ian Woosnam will again be pairing the Scot and Irishman come Friday.
Harrington and Montgomerie practised the foursomes format on Wednesday, losing a friendly wager on the final green to an eagle but their partnership looks solid as European Captain Woosnamsend them out for their final practice session.
“I don’t think anybody on the team would not relish the chance to play with Monty in a Ryder Cup,” said Harrington. “He’s one of the best players in the world in The Ryder Cup format. He exels. So definitely I’d like to play with Monty.
“You let Colin be the captain. That’s a position he likes and he plays it very well. Maybe another group I would be the captain but when you are playing with Colin, he’s definitely the one leading the ship.”
The Monty, Harrington partnership looks to be set in stone, particularly for the foursomes, but it will not be until the opening ceremony that Woosnam will finally reveal his hand.
“You have got to get your fourballs and foursomes right,” added Harrington. “It is a huge part of the Captain’s role to choose the right pairings because, as has been shown before, you can put the two best players in the world together and they are not necessarily going to win.”
Two years ago US Captain Hal Sutton sent Woods and Mickelson, the top two players in the world out as the top pairing to put the American stamp on the opening day, but his plan back-fired as Harrington and Montgomerie won the match 2 and 1.
“Everyone was aware Tiger and Phil were going to play together from the Tuesday, so our European Team got to sit down and discuss who would play them. So it was myself and Monty that chose to play them, more so because we felt we’d play our own game and play a steadier game. We were not going out there trying to match them, we were just going out there to try and play our own game and let them do whatever.”
Harrington is not phased by the added pressure of playing in front of his home crowd at The K Club in what is going to be a huge event for Ireland.
“While there is a lot of pressure, it’s certainly the same as the last Ryder Cup and I’m sure I’ll be nervous when I tee it up for the first time. So will lot’s of other people. So I’m not going to worry about that and hopefully, I’ll go out there and play well.”
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- 1969: Tony Jacklin and Jack Nicklaus on the final hole of the final day.