Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 13 July 2014

Monty relishing revamped cup battle

Colin Montgomerie (left)

Europe captain Colin Montgomerie insisted he was happy with the new format for the Ryder Cup - but conceded that could well change depending on the result.

After a rain delay of more than seven hours on the opening day at Celtic Manor, tournament officials announced changes to the schedule in order to try to finish as planned on Sunday evening.

He said: "Weather permitting we finish on time on Sunday, which would be an amazing feat. Monday finishes are no good for any sport. I am quite happy with the proposed timetable, we'll see if I'm still happy when the match finishes."

With the opening fourballs matches still to be completed, the second session of play will now comprise six foursome matches instead of the usual four, meaning all 12 players on both sides will be involved.

The third session of play will then feature two foursome and four fourball matches with the standard 12 singles matches to follow.

"I think it works very well," Montgomerie said. "It gives the opportunity for everybody to play golf. It was difficult enough to get my team down to 12, never mind eight, and now I can leave it at 12. We are still going to play eight fourballs, eight foursomes and 12 singles, so the integrity of the Ryder Cup remains intact."

The home side, attempting to regain the trophy lost at Valhalla two years ago, were ahead in three of the four matches when play was suspended at 9:45am due to the waterlogged Twenty Ten course.

But when play eventually resumed at 5pm, the United States fought back to lead in two matches, trail in one and be level in the other at the close of play.

"We had a good first couple of hours and the second two hours was in the Americans' favour but there's no match that is more than two up or two down," Montgomerie added. "Everyone is still in the game but it's a very important session on Saturday to gain the momentum back.

"All credit to the American team in playing well the last hour and a half. My players will be slightly disappointed that they did not hole the putts they needed to, in particular that bad spell of 20 minutes. But this will ebb and flow for the next two days. I always said this was going to be close and I don't think anything less right now."

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