Golf: Gallacher ignores wayward Ballesteros for foursomes

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The Independent Online
Seve Ballesteros has been omitted from the opening skirmish in the Ryder Cup this morning, writes Tim Glover. Based on form, Bernard Gallacher, Europe's captain, has left the 38-year-old Spaniard out of the first series of foursomes.

In partnership with Jose-Maria Olazabal, Ballesteros, who is playing in his seventh Ryder Cup, compiled the most successful record in the foursomes and fourballs. Had Olazabal, who withdrew from the match with a foot injury, been here, the Spanish would almost certainly have played a part in the proceedings.

"Seve's going to play an important part in the Ryder Cup," Gallacher said. "He agrees with the decision, he agrees with the team. We can't play Seve in every match. It's doubtful if we can play any player in every match. He'll come into these matches at the right moment, when it's best for Seve and best for the team. His game is about birdies and bogeys and that doesn't always suit foursomes play."

Ballesteros commented: "He's got to play those who are in the best form and that's all I've got to say." Gallacher said he was "90 per cent sure" of giving all 12 players a match before the singles on Sunday.

The four who have this morning off are Ballesteros, David Gilford, Philip Walton and Ian Woosnam. Lanny Wadkins, the United States captain, has left out three of his rookies, Phil Mickelson, Brad Faxon, and Loren Roberts plus Peter Jacobsen.

As expected Gallacher leads off with the tried and trusted combination of Colin Montgomerie and Nick Faldo and they play Corey Pavin and Tom Lehman. Lehman and Jeff Maggert are making their debuts as is Sweden's Per-Ulrik Johansson.

Johansson is paired with Bernhard Langer and Gallacher said: "Per-Ulrik has forced himself into this partnership with his excellent play in practice. Woosnam will be like Seve. He'll play an important match at the right moment. The main criteria as far as I was concerned was how people were playing in practice. I would say Lanny's strategy is very similar to mine. We're putting out the straightest hitters."

Montgomerie and Faldo are followed by Sam Torrance and Costantino Rocca. "Sam is playing exceptionally well and he's got a lot of confidence," Gallacher said. As for the pairing of Howard Clark and Mark James, Gallacher said: "They play a lot together and they know each other's game very well. The conditions are very European. I'm confident."