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
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.
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
"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
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