Pair's early form excites Monty
Padraig Harrington and Lee Westwood might have been Europe's greatest worries a week ago, but it was a different story when official Ryder Cup practice began at Celtic Manor.
According to captain Colin Montgomerie - and perhaps he is not the most impartial observer - the two biggest stars in his side are already turning on the style.
"There are reasons why Padraig Harrington was picked and judge me about that selection on October 4 and not on September 26," said a defiant Montgomerie, who with Harrington beat Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson in the opening tussle of the 2004 contest in Detroit. "I feel the criticism was very unjustified to be honest. I know what Padraig Harrington can do and that's why he was picked."
He added: "He's had three eagles already. He's playing the best golf of my team.
"He's a world player, he's won three major championships and the stature of the guy is second to none within our team.
"I met him when he came in on Sunday evening (following a 64 in Paris). He walked into the Celtic Manor as if he was a rookie - fantastic - and was really up about the whole thing and has been since!"
Westwood, at third in the world Europe's top-ranked player and most experienced Ryder Cup campaigner with six caps, has not played a tournament since August 6 because of a torn calf muscle.
For all the Worksop golfer's confident words as he started playing again last week, Celtic Manor has some serious slopes to test out his fitness.
Montgomerie admitted he was very eager to see how he went and commented: "For him to start off so confidently with three birdies in the first four holes ... I know it means very little on Tuesday, but it's always good for one's self-esteem to start off that way.
"He's not played in six or seven weeks and he starts ripping the ball like he is, so I'm very excited for Lee Westwood this week."