Sport Golf

Friday 23 February 2018

Harrington and McGinley applaud Monty's opening-day action plan

Bernie McGuire in Chambourcy

Padraig Harrington and Paul McGinley have applauded Colin Montgomerie's decision that all 12 European Ryder Cup players will see competitive action on the opening day at Celtic Manor.

There are recent examples -- Sam Torrance in 2002 and Ian Woosnam at the K Club in 2006 -- when a European captain has informed players well beforehand of the pairings.

Montgomerie (right) sought the advice and agreement of each of his four vice-captains about his decision, which was taken with a view to aiding the preparations of each player. It's a move away from Nick Faldo's 'short-notice' approach of two years ago at Valhalla.

"There is no point in me keeping secrets. I am going against the form of telling the team two hours beforehand whether they are in or not," said Monty yesterday at Chambourcy in France, the venue for this week's Vivendi Cup.

"So, barring accidents, illness or whatever, I know who is going to be on that first tee on Friday morning and they've been informed so that they can prepare accordingly.

"In fact, everybody knows what is going on and it's important that they understand that all 12 players are going to be playing on Friday and that they are going to be available to play, so they know exactly where they stand.

"I am not giving away anything by saying this and if you see the Molinaris playing in a practice round then you can assume that they are playing together. That's hardly a secret!

"Graeme (McDowell) and Rory (McIlroy) might have a game together, so what's the point in me not telling the media that?

"And at the same time Corey is not going to change his plans because of what I am doing and I'm not changing my plans because of what he's doing."

Harrington, who will team with his 41-year-old brother, Fergal, for the opening two days of the Vivendi Cup at Golf de Joyvenal, says it's a smart move on Monty's part.

"Monty spoke to us all about it and he's also making the point that he's showing confidence in all his players and that he is not carrying any baggage," said Harrington.

"Colin has been very open ever since being made the captain and there's no hidden agenda."

McGinley also agreed with the move. "It's a good move most definitely," he said. "I was a six to 12 type of player myself and you are always anxious to get going, so it was a big weight off my mind when Sam (Torrance at the Belfry in 2002) told me I was playing on the first day."

Ryder Cup rookie Peter Hanson (32) was present when Monty revealed his decision and was delighted. "It feels great to know I'm getting a game on the first day," he said. "Just standing here and listening to Monty and, as he said, it's going to help me a lot knowing I am going to be playing Friday, instead of having a situation where you go out and play practice rounds and you don't really know if you're going to get a game or not."

Just five Irish -- Harrington and McGinley are joined by Simon Thornton, Peter Lawrie and Gary Murphy -- are contesting the €1.25m Vivendi Cup on the Retz and Marly courses at Golf de Joyevnal, with the leading 65 pros to contest the weekend rounds.

The Vivendi Cup,

Live, Sky Sports 2, 11.30

Irish Independent

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