Montgomerie and Donald selected for Ryder Cup

Faced with as difficult a set of decisions as any European captain has had to deal with, Bernhard Langer added Colin Montgomerie and Luke Donald as wild-card selections for the team that will attempt to retain the Ryder Cup in Detroit next month.

Faced with as difficult a set of decisions as any European captain has had to deal with, Bernhard Langer added Colin Montgomerie and Luke Donald as wild-card selections for the team that will attempt to retain the Ryder Cup in Detroit next month.

If Montgomerie, for all his personal trauma earlier in the year, was a clear-cut choice, Donald joined a trio of highly relieved players who had earlier played their way on to the team.

Paul McGinley, the hero of the Belfry two years ago, David Howell and Ian Poulter hung on to their places on a dramatic final day at the BMW International. Though overtaken by other matters, Miguel Angel Jimenez's victory, his fourth of the season, by two strokes over another member of the team, Thomas Levet, added to Langer's good news.

Montgomerie finished joint third, his best result since the break-up of his marriage and it was not until after the round he was told by Langer he would be making his seventh appearance in the match.

"He knew he still needed to impress me here," Langer said. "But I know he will rise to the occasion."

"Bernhard knows what I can do and he felt I could help," Monty said. "It's been a tough year for me but this is great news."

But Langer had to discard two players he probably would have liked in Alex Cejka, who closed with a 65 to join Monty in third, and Fredrik Jacobson. The Swede is the fourth highest European on the world rankings. Last week he missed out by one place on the world points list and yesterday he was also a place outside the team on the money list. "Freddie was very disappointed and he has every right to be," Langer said. "It was not easy to tell him the news. There were a lot of players who deserved to be on the team but I only had two picks."

Langer, who has added Thomas Bjorn to his back-room team of Anders Forsbrand and Joakim Haeggman, pointed to Donald's superb Walker Cup record of seven wins and only one defeat, as well as his form in America and his victory in Sweden a few weeks ago.

It was a frantic afternoon on the Eichenreid course which eventually left the qualifying top-10 unchanged. Poulter, after having a seven, an eight and two eagles on his card, dropped to 10th place but stayed €50,674 ahead of Jacobson on the table.

Jacobson birdied four of the first seven holes to threaten briefly but Poulter hit a ball out of bounds for a double bogey at the sixth and hit two into the water at the 10th to amass a quadruple bogey. From there, Poulter responded magnificently by playing the last eight holes in six under. "I hadn't felt under pressure all week until then. I was up, well, you know, without a paddle," he said. He eagled the next, the 11th, then birdied the 15th and 16th holes.

"The only time I felt nervous was on the second shot at the last," he said. "I wanted to make a three so badly." A three-wood from 277 yards finished 10 feet away and he holed the putt for a brilliant finale. "That's the biggest three of my life," he said of the second eagle.

Poulter was utterly stunned when he finished but had risen from 58th place after 10 to finish at 10-under in 25th place. "What a day. I'm going home to be with my little boy and my little girl and whatever happens I'll have a glass of champagne."

Howell played 15 strong holes before a blip with a double at the 16th and a bogey at the 17th but birdied the last to finish at 11 under. "It was stressful but I wasn't shaking over any shot as I have sometimes in the past," said the Swindon man. "I was a lot calmer than I thought I would be."

McGinley was playing alongside Jacobson but a 68 was good enough to finish level with the Swede at 15 under in sixth place. McGinley kept the drama going by hitting his second at the last into a ditch. "It was a Van de Velde thing," he said, "if it hadn't hit the stand it would have been a simple chip." He took a penalty drop but got up and down for a par. Even if he had taken a six and Jacobson had made his 14-foot birdie putt to finish joint third it would not have been enough.

McGinley, the hero of the Belfry two years ago, will take this week off after playing 10 tournaments in a row. "My whole life has been on hold for 10 weeks," the Irishman said. "It was a rollercoaster but I didn't want to let it go. It was so important to finish in the top 10 because there were so many people deserving to be picked that I didn't want to add to Bernhard's problems."

The 35th Ryder Cup: The teams

Europe

Captain: Bernhard Langer

Padraig Harrington (Irl, world ranking: 8)

Sergio Garcia (Sp, 12)

Darren Clarke (GB, 16)

Paul Casey (GB, 33)

Miguel Angel Jimenez (Sp, 36)

Lee Westwood (GB, 40)

*Luke Donald (GB, 48)

Ian Poulter (GB, 56)

Thomas Levet (Fr, 59)

Paul McGinley (Irl, 67)

David Howell (GB, 68)

*Colin Montgomerie (GB, 70)

United States

Captain: Hal Sutton

Tiger Woods (1)

Phil Mickelson (4)

Davis Love III (5)

Jim Furyk (9)

*Stewart Cink (11)

Kenny Perry (13)

Chad Campbell (15)

Chris DiMarco (17)

David Toms (19)

*Jay Haas (22)

Chris Riley (38)

Fred Funk (58)

*captain's wild cards

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