Colin Montgomerie moves into contention
Nothing was going to stop Colin Montgomerie from flying to Glasgow, Scotland for a Robbie Williams concert Saturday night.
Only something extraordinary will stop Paul McGinley and Jose Maria Olazabal from earning Ryder Cup berths Sunday.
Montgomerie fired a 6-under-par 66 in Saturday's third round of the BMW International Open and moved into contention for his 40th career win.
Montgomerie climbed from 12th to tied for second at 12-under 204, still three shots behind Ryder Cup teammate David Howell. He rushed from signing his scorecard to a private jet so he could be on stage at 9:30 p.m. local time before flying back again.
"People say I'm mad, but I'm not singing. Don't worry," the Scot said.
As he departed, McGinley and Olazabal - both far away themselves - could reflect on the likelihood that they will retain their automatic berths. Their fate had been left in the hands of others as McGinley missed the cut and Olazabal skipped the event - to go quail-hunting.
Thomas Bjorn, Paul Broadhurst and Johan Edfors were the only three players who could have changed things. After Saturday's performances they need one of the lowest rounds of their careers just to have a chance.
Bjorn has to win to claim a berth. He started the day 29th and climbed to eighth before a bogey and double-bogey saddled him with a 71 that dropped him back to 39th.
"If I miss out, I'll be devastated," he said.
The Dane could still make it as a wild card, although Darren Clarke and Lee Westwood are the favorites. Broadhurst and Edfors know they have no chance of receiving one of captain Ian Woosnam's picks.
Broadhurst, winner of his only two Ryder Cup matches in 1991, shot a 67 to move to 6-under 210 but will go into the final round in 30th place and has to climb to third.
"It looks like I might retire unbeaten," he joked.
Edfors, who has won three times this season, came in needed a second-place finish killed by a 72 that dropped him to 54th.
"I lost my tempo - and then I lost my temper," he said.
Whatever Woosnam decides, he is entitled to feel happy with how the team is shaping up for an attempt at an unprecedented third successive victory over the Americans.
Howell, the defending champion, fired a 66 to vault to the lead. However, he was upset with his finish, hooking into water on the last hole and taking a bogey 6.
Montgomerie is tied with Ryder Cup teammate Padraig Harrington (64) and little-known Swede Martin Erlandsson (69). Harrington considered attending the Republic of Ireland soccer match with Germany in Stuttgart 135 miles away but changed his mind.
"I think I'll probably try to find an Irish pub to watch it," he said. "Unfortunately, when you're doing well at a tournament you don't travel around the world for two hours. These are the side-effects when you're in contention. You have to be disciplined and go to bed early and all that stuff."
Tell that to Montgomerie, whose approach also raised Howell's eyebrows.
"Interesting way to prepare," Howell said. "Fair play to him - I hope he has a great time. Hopefully I'll get to bed before he does."