NEWPORT, Wales — The look on Colin Montgomerie’s face said at least as much as the words falling out of his mouth. Not that there was much gray area with the latter.
Pretty certain that he had just rocked the house with his speech at the Ryder Cup opening ceremony, at least compared to the somber and bungled offerings of his counterpart, the European captain looked like the cat who ate the canary.
Between his own ears, if not those of most evaluating the lineup cards issued for Friday’s opening session at Celtic Manor, you can score one for General Monty even before the matches have begun.
While Montgomery served up the pairings he had all but telegraphed during practice this week, U.S. captain Corey Pavin is sending off four of his five rookies in the critical Friday morning best-ball session and not using Tiger Woods until the third match.
First, Pavin forgot to introduce Ryder veteran Stewart Cink in the opening ceremonies and his Friday-morning pairing sheet wasn’t particularly well-received, either. Well, except by Monty and his 12-man team.
After the pairings were announced, Monty had a contented look on his mug, and in a manner of speaking, it was a defensible posture to take. Pavin raised eyebrows and a slew of questions by using so many rookies, including the debatable decision to pair hyper first-timers Jeff Overton and Bubba Watson in the anchor fourth match, where they will face Ryder veterans Padraig Harrington and Luke Donald.
“Luke Donald and Padraig Harrington would not have expected to play two rookies in the last game,” Monty said in his inimitably smug fashion. “As I say, unexpected.”