Montgomerie misses the cut as Ryder Cup players fail to fire

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Clearly, Mrs Langer's Black Forest Gateau was not on the menu at the European Ryder Cup team's meeting on Thursday evening. There was probably no correlation, but those team members playing in the second round of the Linde German Masters were less than inspired.

Clearly, Mrs Langer's Black Forest Gateau was not on the menu at the European Ryder Cup team's meeting on Thursday evening. There was probably no correlation, but those team members playing in the second round of the Linde German Masters were less than inspired.

Even the captain, Bernhard Langer, missed the cut.

He will now be watching those team members who remain - not Colin Montgomerie, Ian Poulter or Paul McGinley, who all failed to extend their stay.

A 79 left Poulter at 11 over and he departed without a word. McGinley, who was exhausted after his marathon 10-week stint to make the team, admitted he had not prepared properly, arriving late, and it might have been better not to have come at all. Montgomerie may have had other things on his mind, yesterday being the day that his divorce was granted at the High Court. But the Scot remained firmly upbeat.

"No, no, there was nothing much wrong," he said. The course is several shots harder than in previous years and the wind was particularly strong in the morning, when Monty's 76 put him five over par.

"I didn't drive the ball very well. It's a timing thing but I will sort it out on the range. But my form is OK. It's better than it was two years ago, and I'm fitter than two years ago, but it worked out OK then. It's a shame because this is a big event and I'd like to win before the end of the year, but I don't mind if I have to wait until Valderrama."

His main hope next week, other than bringing back the cup, will be that the match goes off without incident, unlike at Brookline five years ago. Thursday evening's meeting was a chance to share experiences with the newer players.

"Paul McGinley had some good advice," said Thomas Levet, "that even if you are not playing in the first session you need to go to the first tee and experience the atmosphere, because it is unique."

Levet came home in 31 to be six under and leading the Ryder Cup contingent. Graeme McDowell, with a brilliant 64 in the afternoon, took the lead at 11 under by three strokes from Raphael Jacquelin and Australia's Nick O'Hern.

Darren Clarke's wrist injury has not proved a problem so far but the Ulsterman was embarrassed when his phone rang 10 minutes after the team meeting had started, when he was still sitting in a sushi bar with his fitness trainer. "I completely forgot," Clarke admitted."The captain was all right but I took some stick from the other players." As Paul Casey said: "I can't believe he admitted he forgot, rather than saying he had been mobbed by fans or something."

Padraig Harrington followed his opening 66 with a 75 to fall from leading to eight behind. But he said: "I didn't play better golf yesterday, or worse golf today. I just had a lot of awkward putts in the wind."

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