Monty fires warning to his no-show Euro stars

EUROPEAN Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie has sounded a reminder to Pádraig Harrington that Celtic Manor team selection could very well hinge on a commitment to key European Tour tournaments.

Monty singled out Harrington and England’s Ian Poulter as players under his microscope in the countdown to final team selection.

The issue of the make-up of his 2010 European Team was raised on the eve of today’s start of the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles in Scotland.

It has prompted Monty to remind those seeking to make the team that selection could hinge on being present at this event next year, and in Harrington’s case, teeing-up in May’s BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.

Harrington was noticeable by his absence from the Wentworth event and instead was present in Scotland hosting a corporate outing at Turnberry.

“I would expect to get a positive response from Pádraig,” said Monty.

“If you look at the West Course, the Burma Road course at Wentworth, and see what they’re doing to the course right now, the changes being made, then I hate to say it, but there’s no excuse to say why Pádraig for one would not be competing in the BMW PGA Championship,” said Monty.

Monty is also chairman of this week’s €1.6m Johnnie Walker Championship but the tournament has attracted just two members of last year’s losing European team, Dane Soren Hansen and England’s Oliver Wilson.

The Scot is also insisting this will not be the scenario next September when his Celtic Manor nine-man automatic selections and his three captain’s picks will be confirmed.

“You will find next year the number five player might not be safe because there’s only nine automatically qualifying,” he said.

“So Number Five through to Number 25 on the Race to Dubai list and also the world points list will be competing here next year.

“So this will become one of, if not the strongest events field-wise on the European schedule next year.”

Poulter’s position also will be in Monty’s mind after the England player skipped last year’s Gleneagles event but was then selected by Nick Faldo as one of his wildcard choices.

“There’s always certain sympathetic cases, there’s no question,” said Monty.

“But what I am saying is I would like everybody that’s in contention for these spots to be playing here next year.”

Meanwhile Peter Lawrie has defended his decision to take an iron off the 16th tee during last Sunday’s final round of the KLM Open.

Lawrie has come in for some criticism for electing to go with the iron instead of the driver while leading the event.

He bogeyed the hole and went on to lose to England’s Simon Dyson in a three-man play-off.

“I don’t think I did anything wrong,” said Lawrie.

“A few people have said to me why I hit an iron of 16 but I staunchly defend my decision, it was just a bad shot.”

Despite Lawrie having to settle for a share of second place, the result lifted him to 40th on the Race to Dubai money list.

Lawrie’s wife, Phillipa, is due to give birth early next week to the couple’s third child and Lawrie intends taking a two-week break from the Tour.

It will mean missing next week’s 2010 Ryder Cup points starting Omega European Masters in Switzerland and the following week’s Merecedes-Benz Championship in Cologne.

Lawrie is among seven Irish vying for this week’s €270,000 first prize.

Among them is Ballyclare’s Gareth Maybin and Clandeboye’s Jonathan Caldwell, both making their debut at the 2014 Ryder Cup host venue.

Organisers have handed Paul McGinley an afternoon tee-time today after he attended yesterday’s wedding of Darren Reynolds, his former long-time caddy.

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