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Ryder Cup problems mounting up for Montgomerie

Just when it seemed everything — woeful form of Tiger Woods included — was pointing to Europe winning back the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor in October, nobody can be quite so sure any more.

Lee Westwood is injured, Henrik Stenson and now Ian Poulter sick, captain Colin Montgomerie has personal troubles and there is the real possibility one of four more stars — Padraig Harrington, Justin Rose, Luke Donald and Paul Casey — might have to be omitted.

Poulter pulled out of the USPGA Championship at Whistling Straits ahead of his final round with a chest infection.

The Ryder Cup, of course, is still six weeks away and the top scorer two years ago has done enough already to be sure of qualifying. But one worry might be that Poulter — and Rose — practiced with Stenson on Tuesday just hours after the Swede had had more tests for a condition that has been bothering him since the Open a month ago.

It was even thought Stenson, joint third at St Andrews, might have viral pneumonia, but even though he got a negative on that his own Ryder Cup hopes have probably been ended by shooting 20 over par for last place in the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and missing the cut by 10 strokes on 11 over this week. Poulter (right) is due back in action at the first of the FedEx Cup play-off series on Thursday week. By then Montgomerie will have a clearer picture of where he stands with his three captain's picks.

Rose, Donald and Harrington — with a double bogey on the last — all missed the cut in the final major of the year.

It could cost Europe again, but while Harrington insists the match is next in importance to him after the majors, he does not intend to change his schedule.

“The Ryder Cup does come first and I want to play well in the Ryder Cup,” said the Dubliner. “There is no point burning myself out.”

Donald was waiting to assess the situation before deciding what to do, but it is his baby daughter's baptism next weekend and he has not entered for the US Tour event which could have sealed a spot.

Meanwhile, one of Montgomerie's vice-captains is in the news for a personal matter too.

According an Australian newspaper, Dane Thomas Bjorn had a five-year affair with a flight attendant that ended last December when she informed him she was pregnant.

Belfast Telegraph


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