Pavin barely heard as full Monty treatment lifts the home side
The contrast in captaincy styles at Celtic Manor is stark – with Europe's man looking like Seve in 1997
Monday 04 October 2010
Remember Brookline. That was Colin Montgomerie's warning to his team last night before sending his players out to finish off the Americans in today's singles.
Brookline 1999 was where Mark James' team took a 10-6 lead into the final day – and lost. "We mentioned that in the locker room," Montgomerie said. "There'll be no complacency and no backing down. Our goal is to win the singles as if we are tied. If we do that, we'll win the Ryder Cup."
He attempted to be diplomatic looking at the draw for the singles but the devil in him couldn't hide his delight at Corey Pavin's order. "It surprises me that matches eight and 10 contain the No 1 and No 2 players in the world," Monty said. The champagne could be popped before Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson have any say in the matter. Even more surprising is that Pavin admitted he has put out the same order that he wrote down on Saturday. Monty changed his after Sunday's fourballs.
So who'll be the goat and who'll be the hero? At the start of Ryder Cup week, Pavin said: "The players win the Ryder Cup but the captain loses it. That's the way it is. Which is fine." His dull and introverted performance at Celtic Manor now sounds like he was preparing for failure. He has even been dubbed Borey Pavin – and that's by the American media.
He has looked so devoid of energy that it is doubtful, in his present mood, that he could inspire lemmings to jump off a cliff. "My team doesn't need motivating," he said on Sunday night. Maybe this is all part of a secret plan. Maybe in the American team room, Pavin has been whoopin' and hollerin' and chucking teapots against the wall. Maybe he's sport's greatest poker player. By teatime today, history will hail one captain and ridicule the other.
Montgomerie, of course, could still turn out to be a goat if the US overturn Europe's three-point lead. But so far he has been a lion. He has looked like Seve Ballesteros at Valderrama in 1997 and has seemingly been everywhere on foot and in his buggy with his walkie-talkie clamped to his ear like a 1980s stockbroker's mobile telephone. While Pavin has been reluctant to reveal anything at all, Monty can barely contain himself. He has been sharing the tiniest of details. He arranged for the computer graphics on the scoreboards to be changed before Sunday morning. "All of them now read blue, instead of the scores being on the right-hand side so that you really could not get a hang of what was going on," he said. How's that for attention to detail? "We've gone back to the 2002 situation [at the Belfry] where the scoreboards were blue and that gives everybody a lift."
"Incredible!" Monty shouted looking fit to burst with joy as the Flying Molinari Brothers snatched half a point at the 18th playing against Stewart Cink and Matt Kuchar. It kept blue right across the scoreboards. "All credit to them," Monty said. "We've got momentum and it feels great." Monty demanded passion from his players and begged it of the crowd. And he got it. "It's like the K Club," Monty said. "The spectator bank on 16, 17 and 18 was built for the fans and they were magnificent." Monty asked if spectators who had tickets for Friday's washout could be admitted today but was told that only Sunday's tickets would be valid. "If 40,000 fans from Friday turned up and 40,000 from Sunday, the course wouldn't be able to cope," he said. "I know Monday is a working day, but quite a few people might be needing a sick note."
Remember the Alamo, was Ben Crenshaw's rallying cry to his team on the eve of the singles matches at Brookline in 1999. It fired up his team for one of the greatest ever Ryder Cup comebacks. Can Pavin's team come out fighting like Crenshaw's? "You know, Ben's Ben and I'm me," was Pavin's underwhelming response.
What happened to all that fire in his belly from Kiawah Island's War on the Shore in 1991? Monty, meanwhile, is close to spontaneously combusting. He declined to reveal what he said to fire up his players other than to admit: "Well, it's quite rude. But the passion needed to be ignited and we must continue this," Monty said. "We must continue this. We must," he said morphing into his Winston Churchill voice again.
"We shall fight them on the bunkers, and we shall fight them on the greens," he didn't add.
That Monday feeling: Force majeure strikes major events
* The Championships nine years ago will be remembered as much for the rain as Tim Henman's five-set semi-final defeat to Goran Ivanisevic, which was played over the course of three days. Such was the interference from the weather, the Croat had to beat Pat Rafter in a final held on a Monday.
US Open 2010
* Rafael Nadal had to deal with delays for thunder, lightning and rain, as well as opponent Novak Djokovic in the final, before he could lift the trophy on a Monday night at 10pm in New York last month.
US Masters 1983
* Friday's round at Augusta was suspended due to rain, and the clouds continued to open the next day forcing the event to be concluded on a Monday. It was the fifth time the major had finished on a week day – in 1973, 1961, 1938 and 1936 it also ended on a Monday.
Grand National 1997
* The 150th Grand National at Aintree was abandoned minutes before the race was due to start after two bomb threats were received from the IRA on the Saturday. Police evacuated jockeys and 60,000 spectators before the event was run on the Monday instead.
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