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Montgomerie: Don’t pitch Rory against Tiger

COLIN MONTGOMERIE would not want Rory McIlroy facing Tiger Woods in the Ryder Cup singles next Sunday if he was still Europe’s captain.

THE man who led the side to victory at Celtic Manor two years ago says he would try to avoid golf’s two biggest attractions going |head-to-head, despite the public clamour for it.

“I would leave Woods well alone,” said Montgomerie. “Don’t go anywhere near him, especially in America and playing now to a certain degree an awful lot better than he has been. I would want Rory to be playing someone else in the singles, if you don’t mind. Yes, everybody wants this to happen, but look what happened to Stephen Ames when he played Woods.”

On the eve of facing Woods at the 2006 World Match Play in California, Ames said: “Anything can happen, especially where he’s hitting the ball.” Ames was then crushed 9&8.

“Look at what happened to Francesco Molinari when he played Woods (in Wales),” Montgomerie added.

Woods, world number one at the time, was a brilliant nine under par when he won 4&3 after a run that included holing out from the 12th fairway for an eagle two.

The only Ryder Cup singles Woods has lost was on his 1997 debut – Molinari’s fellow Italian Costantino Rocca beat him at Valderrama – but Davis Love would be just the second American captain to send him out first if he does so next weekend.

Montgomerie put Lee Westwood top of his line-up two years ago, but Jose Maria Olazabal might be more tempted to go with McIlroy.

Not only because he is his highest-ranked player, but also because the 23-year-old Irishman likes to set a quick pace.

The two captains decide their own orders, then discover who is matched with whom.

If Love names Woods first it would be an indication that he wanted him to face McIlroy and if Olazabal does the same then he clearly wants the same thing.

It is in team play where Woods has really failed to stamp his authority over the years, however. In foursomes he has a record of only five wins and one half in 13 games and in fourballs it is five wins and six defeats.