Thursday 27 July 2017

Monty eases McIlroy stress with ‘wigs on the green’ gag

Rory McIlroy, wearing a curly wig, hits a tee shot during a practice round for the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor yesterday
Rory McIlroy, wearing a curly wig, hits a tee shot during a practice round for the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor yesterday

Karl MacGinty

THERE were 'wigs on the green' at Celtic Manor yesterday as the Ryder Cup row between Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods took a bizarre twist.

McIlroy was so depressed at seeing his war of words with Woods splattered all over the back pages, his European colleagues came up with a hair-raising idea "to make him feel part of the team again."

The youngster's playing partners, Graeme McDowell, Martin Kaymer and Luke Donald, plus all four caddies, donned curly black wigs on the practice green, then surprised McIlroy as he waited on the tee.

It helped brighten up a rain-sodden morning for McIlroy, who found himself in the eye of a Ryder Cup storm when Woods threw down the gauntlet on Tuesday.

"I think Rory was quite upset with the comments that were made in the papers about this Tiger situation," European skipper Colin Montgomerie conceded.

Team

"So, we decided to find seven wigs," he continued. "One of the caddies came up with the idea -- to get Rory on the first tee and make him feel part of the team again."

Ryder Cup week is stressful enough for a rookie like McIlroy without added pressure. He stirred the wrath of the Tiger with a comment last month that "anyone on the European team would fancy his chances" against Woods "unless his form dramatically improves."

Asked if McIlroy was wise to call Woods out, US captain Corey Pavin remained silent for 20 long seconds before saying with a devilish grin: "Can I just leave it at that?

"Other people have said things like that to Tiger in the past and maybe have regretted it. If they do play against each other, it'd be entertaining."

Both captains insist they'll remain faithful to Ryder Cup tradition and not conspire to make this confrontation happen.

Yet with Monty expected to lead with Graeme McDowell and McIlroy in the opening session and Tiger sent out first at his last three Ryder Cups, it could be 'pistols at dawn' tomorrow morning.

Irish Independent

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