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Ryder Cup: Colin Montgomerie’s call too quick, says Nick Faldo

By Peter Hutcheon

Sir Nick Faldo believes European Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie has shown his hand too early by selecting his opening partnerships more than a week before the start of the competition.

Montgomerie revealed he had already informed his players who they would be playing with in the opening fourballs and foursomes and that all 12 would feel the heat of battle on the opening day next week at Celtic Manor, in a surprise move on Wednesday.

But Faldo, who has spent the week in Northern Ireland at the grand final of his Faldo Series event at the Lough Erne Resort, says that may prove premature.

“I think it was too early to decide on the pairings because you can never know what is going to happen in practice in the build-up to the start of the competition. I think as a captain you have to be open to change, but we shall have to wait and see,” he said.

The opening pairing became something of an embarrassment for captain Faldo at Valhalla when he was photographed with a piece of paper with what appeared to be his choices written down which he insisted was a list of sandwiches the players wanted for lunch.

He had earlier courted controversy by selecting Ian Poulter over popular Ulsterman Darren Clarke as one of his wild cards.

But Faldo insists that his experience of captaining Europe to defeat in Kentucky two years ago, when they went into the event as strong favourites, has not diminished his enthusiasm for the event — even if he won't be at Celtic Manor next week.

“I still love the Ryder Cup, I always loved it, it's been a very special part of my career,” he said.

“I'm still hanging onto all the points records which I am very proud of. The Ryder Cup has and will always be very much a big part of my career.

“I will be back in America next week but I will be keeping a very close eye on what is going on in Wales.”

Faldo reckons Monty and his men won't have it all their way next week and predictions of an easy European victory are well wide of the mark.

“The Americans aren't coming over here to give up without a fight,” said the 53 year old.

“I know everyone is saying that this is a very strong European side but I think this is going to be a very competitive Ryder Cup,” he added.

“The Americans are not going to just come over here thinking that we have had a better summer

than them. On paper the European team has had a great summer so, yes, we should be favourites but we will see.”

The six-time Major winner presented the prizes to the Faldo Series winners at a gala dinner at the Lough Erne Resort last night.

“It's been a great week and we had no hesitation in bringing the Faldo Series here and we are going to be holding it here for the next two years as well,” said Faldo who designed the course at the £30m resort in Fermanagh.

“I'm delighted with the way the course has worked out. It has even exceeded my original expectations for the place when I first saw it.”

And he revealed that the first tentative steps for the future staging a European Tour event have already been taken.

“The European Tour have been in touch and have someone over to take a look at the place,” he said. “We designed it as a tournament course and that's what we always intended it to be.

“We've certainly got the space and any time you have the hotel right on site it makes it a whole lot easier. Plenty of room for all the infrastructure that is needed for a tournament so we shall see.”

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