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Coltart has Scottish trio to thank

Andrew Coltart may well have to thank three fellow Scots for his shock Ryder Cup selection - and with it the chance to win two million dollars.

Europe's captain Mark James spoke to 'Tartan Trio' Sam Torrance, Ken Brown and Colin Montgomerie before announcing that he was handing Coltart one of his two wild cards.

The decision shocked those who presumed James would have to add some experience to a side already containing six new caps.

Most of those who agreed with James that Bernhard Langer, Ian Woosnam and Nick Faldo simply did not have the form to warrant selection were still not expecting him to go for Coltart, winner of just one European tour title in seven seasons.

If not them, then perhaps it would be Costantino Rocca, a winner two weeks ago, a member of the last three sides and conqueror of Tiger Woods at Valderrama.

If not him, then maybe it might be Robert Karlsson, who while Coltart fell from ninth to 12th in the final few weeks of the qualifying race leapt from 20th to 10th before being knocked out of an automatic spot by Padraig Harrington's back-to-back second places.

James admitted he was "gutted" to have to tell Karlsson that his gut feeling was for Coltart - and it will hurt the Swede in his pocket as well as his feelings.

By being picked for the Ryder Cup, Coltart - whose sister Laurae is married to Lee Westwood and whose own wife Emma is expecting their first child on September 13 - and the rest of the side get to play in this week's 41-man NEC world championship in Ohio and the same event next year.

Top prize each time will be a million dollars, and even to finish last both times would make someone 50,000 US dollars (more than £30,000) richer - and they say there is no payment for making the Ryder Cup!

There have been some inspirational wild card choices in the past, of course.

In 1989 Tony Jacklin called up 41-year-old Christy O'Connor Jnr for a second cap, and his two-iron shot on The Belfry's last hole to beat Fred Couples is still talked about.

But playing for a second time is nothing like playing for a first.

Montgomerie painted a terrifying picture of what an ordeal a debut is only last week.

"It's very tough mentally to cope - and it's about 15 or 20% tougher in America," he said.

"I felt rotten on the first tee; everything was shaking around."

Jesper Parnevik, James' natural choice for the other wild card, added last night: "The first time you play you really don't know what's going on and you're nervous all week."

That is what Coltart must now try to prepare himself for. And Paul Lawrie. And Harrington. And Jarmo Sandelin. And Jean Van de Velde. And Miguel Angel Jimenez. And, for all he has already achieved at 19, Sergio Garcia.

James appears to have taken an enormously bold decision by increasing the number of rookies from six - he could not do anything about that because they all qualified automatically - to seven.

Europe, holders of the trophy, will be massive underdogs. But they have been before and still won.