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Ryder Cup rookies state case to play

Ryder Cup rookies Graeme McDowell and Soren Hansen believe Europe’s captain Nick Faldo will not let them sit in the wings until the singles in next week’s match with the United States at Valhalla.

Briton McDowell and Denmark’s Hansen are convinced they have too much to offer to be sidelined in the way rookies Jean Van de Velde, Jarmo Sandelin and Andrew Coltart were at Brookline in 1999 when they did not get a game until the final day.

“I’m looking forward to being on the tee Friday morning and hopefully putting a peg in the ground,” McDowell told reporters on Wednesday at Gut Larchenhof on the eve of the Mercedes Benz Championship.

The Northern Irishman, already experienced at beating Americans in their own backyard during his highly successful collegiate years in the United States, believes that experience will count in his favour. He plumped for Irishman Padraig Harrington, winner of the last two majors, as his choice for playing partner.

“I think, probably along with another 10 players, I would love to play with Padraig, he’s pretty much the best player in the world at the minute,” McDowell said.

“And I think if I got a game with Padraig—or Sergio (Garcia) - perhaps I could get thrown in a couple more times.”

Hansen, who defends his title this week at Gut Larchenhof, felt that his consistency would earn him more than just a singles outing in Kentucky.

“I’ve played tremendous golf now for nearly two years straight and there has not been a tournament when I have not knocked on the door,” Hansen told reporters. “So there is no reason why I shouldn’t perform really well next week.

“I think I’m an easy fit as well. There are a lot of strong guys on the team and I fit in with everybody pretty well, I’m strong enough to partner somebody and give a really good result.”

While Hansen thought Faldo would find it “pretty easy” to decide the pairings, McDowell was not so certain.

“I imagine everyone wants to play as much as they possibly can before Sunday,” he said. “It’s a tough team to put together.”

Having spoken to Faldo last week, though, McDowell believed that the six-times major champion, already with experience captaining in last year’s Seve Trophy, will be prepared to listen to his players, whether they are triple major champion Harrington or a debutant like him.

“He (Faldo) said to me on the phone he’s wanting input from us. I want to hear if you’re playing well—and if you’re not playing well I want to hear that as well.”


September 11, 2008

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