Monty pep-talk sparked Europe

Colin Montgomerie’s pep talk with his Northern Ireland stars seems may have sparked a thrilling European fightback.

Colin Montgomerie’s pep talk with his Northern Ireland stars seems may have sparked a thrilling European fightback.
Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy responded to their afternoon implosion against Stewart Cink and Matt Kuchar by going three up after seven holes during their evening foursomes appointment with Zach Johnson and Hunter Mahan.
And if Europe are to regain the trophy at Celtic Manor tomorrow – weather permitting – the Northern Irishmen are key to those victory prospects.
“That’s the two players I spent most time with. Because they were last off, I had time to be able to do that,” said Europe captain Montgomerie, after McDowell and McIlroy had gone from being one up after 16 holes to their loss by one against Cink and Kuchar.
“But at the same time, they were the two I was concerned about, to be honest. The way that match had finished was disappointing for both of them.
“But at the same time, they’ve come out from the first hole onwards this afternoon and evening, and all credit to them for coming out and playing the way they have done.
“People expect it of them, and this is what I felt was due to happen with the Graeme and Rory partnership.”
Montgomerie felt most of the morning and afternoon sessions were flat from a European perspective. They are 6-4 down overnight, but up in all six matches that will resume at 8am on Sunday.
“We are in a very, very strong position, suddenly. It wasn’t going so well at lunchtime, to be honest,” he added.
“The way that Stewart Cink and Matt Kuchar finished against Rory and Graeme, all credit to them to finish the way they did and get that point for America.
“That would have tied the game, as opposed to making it 6-4, as it is now.
“I felt there wasn’t enough passion on the golf course. We have plenty of ways of winning this, but passion we didn’t have. I felt it with the team and the spectators.
“I felt we needed to get the crowd on our side. I just felt the crowd weren’t getting involved enough because we weren’t involving them enough. We allowed the Americans to get momentum.
“The Americans were silencing the crowd through their good play, and that’s what happens. We have done that a few times in our wins on American soil.
“The more silenced the crowd are, the better it is for the away team, and that’s what was happening in the first couple of sessions.
“We had to try and get the crowd as our 13th man and back on our side through our good play, and that’s what we did.
“Of course, there is pressure on the players and expectation. Sometimes, expectation is difficult to live up to, but they are living up to it now.
“These matches ebb and flow. To lose the first two sessions, fractionally as we did, we still felt very confident about going out in this last session.
“I was very impressed with everyone’s play and attitude this afternoon and evening. It was a very important two hours of play, and we came through it with flying colours.
“The job is half done. We’ve got to maintain this momentum tomorrow morning and then see how we are lying going into the singles.”
American captain Corey Pavin said: “It’s very close. The third session is going pretty nicely for Europe, and I don’t think it’s a bad thing it got dark.”
On Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker being four down after nine holes against Luke Donald and Lee Westwood, he added: “I think Tiger is playing well.
“Obviously, they didn’t get off to a good start in their latest game, but I am sure they are going to try to get that turned around, and it would be a great turnaround.
“We’ve seen what happened, and I will speak to the players accordingly. We’re not in the position we would like to be in, but it’s early.
“We will see what happens when we get back out there.”