Monty turns the air blue after blunders on greens

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The Independent Online

To call it red would be doing a disservice to the brightest scarlet, and to call the air blue in his team meeting room would be doing likewise to the deepest turquoise. "Let's just say the door was closed and there were no women present," said the furious Great Britain and Ireland captain. "How can you give a bollocking positively? We'll see if I've managed it tomorrow. There's things that were going on that will remain between ourselves."

What they were, Montgomerie would not say, although it was evident to the uninitiated here in the North-east that Jose Maria Olazabal's Continental Europe were by far the hungrier. But what would have hurt Montgomerie the most - apart from not being able to celebrate his own 4 and 2 victory - was the final hole of the final game. With the match all level and with Padraig Harrington six feet away in two and Jean François Remesy 10 feet away, it seemed the day was to finish finely poised at 3-2. But as so often happens in matchplay, the landscape changed in an instant. Remesy held his, Harrington missed his and instead of the deficit being one it was three. "That was crucial," Montgomerie said shaking his head.

But then, so was the form - or lack of it - of Stephen Dodd and Bradley Dredge, neither of whom made a birdie all day; an almost unthinkable feat for a professional in the "go for it" format of fourball better ball. How did David Howell shoot four birdies and an eagle and still manage to lose 3 and 2 to a couple of unheralded Scandinavians in Peter Hanson and Niclas Fasth? Simple, just play with the hapless Paul Casey, who happens to be Montgomerie's wild card.

No wonder the Scot was feeling let down then, and not just by his supposed big bright hope. Montgomerie had built up the dashing duo of Ian Poulter and Nick Dougherty as "my Hollywood pairing", but they proved to be more "straight to video" than "box-office smash" in losing by two holes to Thomas Bjorn and Henrik Stenson. Dashing, yes. Dangerous, no.

So what was Montgomerie to do with today's pairings for the fourballs? Change them all around, no doubt. But not this Monty, not when he believes his troops have so much to prove. Let us just pray he is right. Of all the names that he has been called over the years - "Mrs Doubtfire", "Mr Grumpy", "Colin" - none will have hurt as much as the moniker that greeted his and Scotland's ignominious exit to Paraguay in the Dunhill Cup a few years ago. "Captain Cock-up" still has a certain ring about it.

European Tour Seve Trophy (The Wynyard GC, Billingham, Tees Valley). First day fourball scores: T Bjorn (Den) and H Stenson (Swe) bt I Poulter and N Dougherty 2 holes; M Lafeber (Neth) and E Canonica (It) lost to C Montgomerie and Graeme McDowell 4 and 2; M Angel Jimenez (Sp) and J M Olazabal (Sp) bt S Dodd and Bradley Dredge 4 and 2; N Fasth (Swe) and P Hanson (Swe) bt D Howell and P Casey 3 and 2; J-F Remesy (Fr) and T Levet (Fr) bt P McGinley and P Harrington 1 hole. Continental Europe 4 Great Britain and Ireland 1.

Draw and tee-off times for the second day fourballs: (GB and Irl names first): 10:35 P Harrington and P McGinley v N Fasth (Swe) and P Hanson (Swe); 10:50 P Casey and D Howell v M A Jimenez (Sp) and J M Olazabal (Sp); 11:05 C Montgomerie and G McDowell v T Bjorn (Den) and H Stenson (Swe); 11:20 S Dodd and B Dredge v M Lafeber (Neth) and E Canonica (It); 11:35 I Poulter and N Dougherty v J-F Remesy (Fr) and T Levet (Fr).