Montgomerie and Olazabal in need of healing hand - Golf - Sport - The Independent

Montgomerie and Olazabal in need of healing hand

MARK JAMES, who yesterday boarded Concorde with the least experienced European Ryder Cup team to fly supersonic to the States since Tony Jacklin started the tradition in 1983, will not guarantee every member of the side gets a match prior to next Sunday's singles, writes Andy Farrell.

MARK JAMES, who yesterday boarded Concorde with the least experienced European Ryder Cup team to fly supersonic to the States since Tony Jacklin started the tradition in 1983, will not guarantee every member of the side gets a match prior to next Sunday's singles, writes Andy Farrell.

"Of course I want to try and get every player a game prior to the singles," James said, "but I will do whatever is best for the team."

Over the next three days of practice at the Country Club of Brookline in Boston, James has to weld together a team full of newcomers, and whose leading two players are unhappy with their games, into a force to take on Ben Crenshaw's star-studded line-up in the 33rd Ryder Cup starting on Friday.

The Americans are smarting from defeats in the last two matches, and to the International side at the Presidents Cup last year. But they have an injury doubt over Davis Love, who was told to rest for the last two weeks after suffering from a pinched nerve in his back.

James, although not publicly saying so, must turn around the form of his two most experienced players in quick time. Jose Maria Olazabal, who has played five times, is concerned about his driving.

Colin Montgomerie blamed his putting for failing to win his last two tournaments, the British Masters and the Lancome Trophy in Paris on Sunday.

Olazabal has proved an inspirational figure at the Ryder Cup and must be again, now that his former partner, Seve Ballesteros, is involved neither as a player or as captain. Montgomerie's touch on the greens is never usually as bad as he thinks, and he has the priceless ability to will putts into the hole when it really matters, as over the coming weekend. He will select from seven putters in practice, but more encouraging was his long game at St-Nom-la-Breteche. "I have never hit the ball better," he said.

Olazabal, who has always played in all four series of foursomes and fourballs prior to the singles, and Montgomerie are two players James expects to be ever-presents in his line-ups. "Certainly, there are players I am thinking about playing five times," he said. "All captains start out hoping some players will be able to do that, but we will have to see what happens.

"I am more positive than I sometimes look. The team is coming together well. All European teams tend to be greater than the sum of their parts," he added.In Sergio Garcia, however, Europe might find a new talisman. Any thoughts that the 19-year-old Spaniard was not ready for the most pressured three days in golf were dismissed when Garcia won the Irish Open, his sixth tournament as a pro, and then chased Tiger Woods all the way at the USPGA.

While Olazabal may team up with Miguel Angel Jimenez, Garcia could play with Jesper Parnevik. Along with Padraig Harrington, playing in the BC Open, and Parnevik, Garcia was already in America, although his charity event last week was cancelled due to Hurricane Floyd.

The severe weather also disrupted the BC Open, but only three US players had taken up Crenshaw's urgings to play their way into the match. Many decided to rest, including Woods. The world No 1 has not played for the last three weeks, having won twice, at the USPGA and the NEC Invitational, in the previous three weeks.

But, remembering four years ago at Oak Hill, when he did not win a point, Crenshaw said: "I took a few weeks off before Rochester, and I wasn't much help. I didn't pull my weight."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent