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Ryder Cup winners taking a break

Just four of Europe's 12 victorious Ryder Cup players will feature in this week's European Tour event, The Heritage, starting on Thursday.

Colin Montgomerie, who holed the winning putt at Oakland Hills, Padraig Harrington, Montgomerie's partner for three matches, Ian Poulter and David Howell, will feature in the tournament that is being staged as a tribute to European Tour executive director Ken Schofield.

Schofield retires at the end of this year after 30 years' service to the tour.

Paul Casey and Thomas Levet, two of Bernhard Langer's record-breaking team, were late withdrawals from this week's event.

Poulter, another of Europe's rookies at Oakland Hills, said the experience would stand him in good stead when it came to trying to win his sixth tour title.

"I learned more last week than I did in all of my five wins," said the 28-year-old Briton, who won his singles match against Chris Riley.

"First of all I learned a lot more about myself and secondly I learned how I could handle pressure.

"The pressure wasn't so bad on the Saturday when I played with Darren (Clarke) but on the Sunday it was just me and Micky (Donnachie), my caddie.

"I was under much more pressure, but played better in the singles.

"I won't be doing anything different but I'd hope I won't make silly mistakes so much now and perhaps hit more greens and fairways.

"I'd hope to take that to majors and all tournaments."

Poulter said witnessing the United States' top two players spray the ball off the tee at the start of the match had helped calm his nerves.

"I made sure I took in the atmosphere on the first day and after seeing Phil Mickelson drive 40 yards left and Tiger Woods hit 40 yards right, I wasn't really quite so bothered about my first drive."

World number six Retief Goosen, currently second on Europe's money-list, can move to less than $100,000 behind leader and fellow-South African Ernie Els, who does not feature at Woburn this week, if he wins on Sunday.

Harrington said Europe's Saturday morning Ryder Cup fourball victory by David Howell and Paul Casey had been instrumental in the record nine-point victory over the United States.

"I think Howell and Casey's match was probably the most important fourball match that has ever happened in the Ryder Cup," said the Irishman, who picked up four points out of five.

"It would have been a very tight contest if it wasn't for that match.

"You could have guaranteed that it would have been right down to the wire but the boys stopped their momentum, just halted them, fullstop.

"That's why there was such a large margin of victory."

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