Colin Montgomerie reveals how well Europe's rookies need to do for them to claim Ryder Cup

Colin Montgomerie reveals how well Europe's rookies need to do for them to claim Ryder Cup

By Simon Lewis, Hazeltine National

Colin Montgomerie has been involved in enough Ryder Cups to know the value of a rookie.

The Sky Sports analyst, who faced the United States eight times in the biennial event which resumes in Minnesota on Friday, captained Europe to victory at Celtic Manor six years ago when he had six debutants on his team.

That is the same number Clarke travelled to Hazeltine National with on Monday.

That one of them is 2016 Masters champion, Danny Willett, should ease any foreboding of a Ryder Cup on American soil being intimidating for the European rookies, while Spanish star Rafa Cabrera Bello is an experienced PGA Tour campaigner.

Danny Willett getting the green jacket after winning this year's Masters.
Danny Willett getting the green jacket after winning this year's Masters.

English trio Andy Sullivan, Chris Wood and Matt Fitzpatrick are joined by Belgium's Thomas Pieters, who was one of Clarke's wild card picks while the United States have just two rookies, Brooks Koepka and captain's selection Ryan Moore.

All have accomplished much in the game and Clarke says he has no fear of asking any of his team to play in all five sessions but Montgomerie says it is impossible to predict how they will react once they are exposed to an atmosphere that is unlike any other in golf.

“We all don't know what Thomas Pieters is going to do and we all don't know what the other rookies are going to do. We've no idea,” Montgomerie said.

“I always felt that if our six rookies, if we can get three-and-a-half points out of those rookies on Sunday, three-and-a-half points out of six will win the Ryder Cup and it's all to do with that. For Europe's sake let's hope Darren's made the right choice and Thomas Pieters (as a captain's pick) brings home one of those points.

“You just don't know, you could come up against somebody who shoots eight under and you lose, it could happen to anybody. Let's just hope he's made the right decision.”

Of the other European rookies, Montgomerie added he had no fears for Cabrera Bello whom he described as “an American course player”.

Colin Montgomerie has no fears for Cabrera Bello (pictured) in Hazeltine. Pic: Sportsfile
Colin Montgomerie has no fears for Cabrera Bello (pictured) in Hazeltine. Pic: Sportsfile

“Danny Willett, obviously, although he hasn't played well really since the Masters, he'd admit that himself but having won the Masters he's still confident. So that's two rookies.

“Matthew Fitzpatrick and Andy Sullivan and Chris Wood you would feel are more rookies than the other three, you know, not having that exceptional length or that fear factor that Danny Willett brings or Thomas Pieters brings to the game.

“So they're the ones, if we can get them playing well. We need all 12 to play well in America, that's always been the case, but if those three, Chris Wood, Andy Sullivan and Matthew Fitzpatrick, if they can pull it out of the hat we have a great chance.”

More on this topic

Padraig Harrington believes Ryder Cup could head towards ‘neutral set-up’ coursesPadraig Harrington believes Ryder Cup could head towards ‘neutral set-up’ courses

Harrington to run rule over Ryder Cup prospect Hovland at WentworthHarrington to run rule over Ryder Cup prospect Hovland at Wentworth

Robert Karlsson named as one of Europe’s vice-captains for 2020 Ryder CupRobert Karlsson named as one of Europe’s vice-captains for 2020 Ryder Cup

JP’s dream becomes a realityJP’s dream becomes a reality

More in this Section

Mauricio Pochettino wants Tottenham to kick on after late equaliserMauricio Pochettino wants Tottenham to kick on after late equaliser

Foxes paid fitting tribute to Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha – Brendan RodgersFoxes paid fitting tribute to Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha – Brendan Rodgers

Ralph Hasenhuttl: It was about time Southampton proved a pointRalph Hasenhuttl: It was about time Southampton proved a point

Even Manchester City would struggle with our defensive crisis – FarkeEven Manchester City would struggle with our defensive crisis – Farke


Lifestyle

These are the nail hues to choose this season, says Katie Wright.Perfectly polished: 5 autumn/winter nail trends you’ll actually want to wear

This early 19th-century table is one of a number of Irish lots at Sotheby’s Style, Furniture and Ceramics sale in New York on Thursday (October 24).Irish lots poised to add bite to Big Apple sale

Something for all at Hegarty’s auction in Bandon, says Des O’SullivanSomething for all at Hegarty’s auction in Bandon

Des O’Sullivan gives a preview of the Irish selection on offer at two sales in DublinPreview of the Irish selection on offer at two sales in Dublin

More From The Irish Examiner