The unseemly row occurred on the driving range moments after Padraig Harrington had missed his putt on the final hole of the opening day's fourballs. As the Irishman's six-footer slipped by, handing the point to Continental Europe, Poulter was hitting his driver in the practice area some 50 yards away but easily within earshot of the 18th green.
Harrington complained to Montgomerie and the Scot marched over to the range and told the Ryder Cup player exactly what he thought. Poulter's reply was believed to be even more direct, with members of the Sky commentary team claiming their footage clearly shows the 29-year-old telling Montgomerie to "fuck off". "If that did happen, it was behind my back because I didn't hear it," said Montgomerie last night, after watching his side recover from a 4-1 deficit to win yesterday's five fourballs 3-2 and close to within two points of Jose Maria Olazabal's side.
After playing a starring role in the comeback, linking with Nick Dougherty to crush the French duo of Jean-Francois Remesy and Thomas Levet 5 and 4, Poulter appeared to be far from remorseful. "Yeah, we did our 150 lines like naughty schoolboys last night," he said, referring to the dressing down Montgomerie admitted giving to his men. And when asked what he would be doing for the rest of afternoon, with a few games still to be concluded, he said: "I think I need to hit a few more shots."
Thank goodness he was joking, and was later to apologise, because if Montgomerie had seen him on that range then it would not have been pretty, not after the 42-year-old's earlier admonishment. "There are times to work on one's game and we all felt it wasn't the appropriate time," said Montgomerie. "Drivers are loud and although Padraig was 99.9 per cent sure that Ian would stop, there was still that doubt."
On the day that Poulter found redemption with six birdies in nine holes and Paul Casey did likewise in assisting the flying David Howell to beat Olazabal and Miguel Angel Jimenez 5 and 4, Bradley Dredge suffered what will forever be known as "the curse of the Welsh professional golfer".
At the Open at Lytham in 2001, Ian Woosnam famously saw his chance of Claret Jug glory die when he was penalised for carrying one too many clubs over the regulation 14. Yesterday, it was Dredge's turn, as he was forced into conceding the first hole to Martin Lafeber and Emanuele Canonica when noticing the dreaded 15th walking up the first fairway. Sod's law decreed that this was bound to turn out crucial, and so it proved as he and Stephen Dodd lost on the last.
No doubt, this was why Montgomerie left out the 32-year-old from this morning's greensomes, but if that was hardly a surprise, then his own exclusion was. "I've never benched myself before," Montgomerie said after he and Graeme McDowell were beaten 3 and 2 by Thomas Bjorn and Henrik Stenson. "I'm getting too old for 7.50am starts."
THE SEVE TROPHY: GREAT BRITAIN AND IRELAND v CONTINENTAL EUROPE The Wynyard, Tees Valley, England (GB and Ireland names first): Yesterday's fourballs result: GB and Ireland 3 Continental Europe 2. Overall results after two sets of fourballs: Continental Europe 6 GB and Ireland 4. Results: Padraig Harrington and Paul McGinley beat Niklas Fasth and Peter Hanson, 3 and 1. David Howell and Paul Casey beat Jose Maria Olazabal and Miguel Angel Jimenez, 5 and 4. Colin Montgomerie and Graeme McDowell lost to Thomas Bjorn and Henrik Stenson, 3 and 2. Stephen Dodd and Bradley Dredge lost to Maarten Lafeber and Emanuele Canonica by two holes. Ian Poulter and Nick Dougherty beat Jean-Francois Remesy and Thomas Levet, 5 and 4. Draw and tee-off times for today's greensomes: 0750 Padraig Harrington and Paul McGinley v Thomas Levet and Jose Maria Olazabal; 0805 David Howell and Paul Casey v Niclas Fasth and Peter Hanson; 0820 Graeme McDowell and Stephen Dodd v Miguel Angel Jimenez and Emanuele Canonica; 0835 Ian Poulter and Nick Dougherty v Thomas Bjorn and Henrik Stenson.