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Last chance to impress Nick Faldo at Gleneagles

Colin Montgomerie and Darren Clarke are among the European stars who have a last chance this week to capture places on the Ryder Cup team.

Along with Paul McGinley, Ian Poulter and Paul Casey, they are hoping to do enough in the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles or the Deutsche Bank Championship in Boston to impress captain Nick Faldo and secure one of two wild card spots.

Montgomerie, Clarke and McGinley will play in Gleneagles, and Poulter and Casey will play in Boston, the second of the four FedEx Series playoffs.

The team that will defend the trophy at Valhalla in Louisville, Ky., from Sept. 19-21 includes five from the world points list—British Open and PGA Championship winner Padraig Harrington, Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood, Henrik Stenson and Robert Karlsson. The next five, who come from the European points list, are Miguel Angel Jimenez, Graeme McDowell, Justin Rose, Soren Hansen and Oliver Wilson.

Martin Kaymer, Ross Fisher and Nick Dougherty are right behind the last three on the European points list.

The Boston tournament does not count for either list—only to impress Faldo.

After the 10 are known on Sunday, Faldo will announce his two wild cards at a news conference at Gleneagles.

Montgomerie and Clarke are outside chances for wild-card selection. Montgomerie, unbeaten in singles in his eight previous Ryder Cup appearances, has had a poor summer and did not play the last two weeks.

He finished 77th in the Bridgestone and missed the cut at the PGA Championship this month.

The Scot practiced at Gleneagles last week, knowing that nothing less than a victory would impress Faldo.

“It rained every day, but I got the job done. Now I feel very confident in trying to win this event,” said Montgomerie, who added he’s been trying to add 20 yards off the tee at the par-73 course measuring 7,320 yards.

“My goal is to win and try to forget about everything else and what it all means,” Montgomerie said.

Clarke won all three Ryder Cup points at The K Club in 2006 just six weeks after losing his wife Heather to cancer. He was out of the running for a pick until he won the Dutch Open last Sunday.

Poulter announced Monday that he’d play Boston instead of Gleneagles, where a fifth-place finish could have got him on the team.

Poulter changed his plan because he needs to play a 15th event on the U.S. Tour, and this would be his last chance this year.


August 28, 2008

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