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Last Updated: Sunday, 10 September 2006, 09:50 GMT 10:50 UK
Montgomerie fears favourites tag
Colin Montgomerie
Montgomerie is one of the European team's senior players
Colin Montgomerie has told the BBC that the 2006 European Ryder Cup team is the best ever - but has warned against the danger of going in as favourites.

Montgomerie told Five Live that being expected to win brought new pressures.

"The last seven we've been underdogs but we're expected to win - that puts us in a changed position," he said.

"America haven't put a foot wrong so it'll come down to someone's putt on the last day. That's what makes it great sport and great television."

Darren Clarke's been selected because he can handle it, he's very strong

Colin Montgomerie

Speaking on the Sportsweek programme, he said that Europe had its strongest ever pool of players from which to select the squad.

Denmark's Thomas Bjorn hit the headlines recently with his criticism of captain Ian Woosnam's decision not to give him a wildcard.

But Montgomerie said the wildcard players - Lee Westwood and Darren Clarke - would add strength to the team.

"Europe have about 20 players who are very capable of playing, but only 12 can go," he said.

"Lee and Darren will obviously strengthen the team.

The Ryder Cup European team line-up
Montgomerie says this is Europe's finest ever team

"I believe we have the strongest European team ever - I just hope we perform to that billing."

Clarke has not played since the Open, following the death of his wife Heather last month, but Montgomerie said he felt the emotion of the event could inspire the Ulsterman.

"In 1991 I lost my mum just before I was picked for the first time," he said.

"It gave me added incentive to get on the team - it's important to get back on the horse and play well.

"Darren's been selected because he can handle it, he's very strong.

"We all feel terribly for him with what happened but it'll be great for Darren, for Ireland and for Europe to show support for him."

Montgomerie also revealed that he thought Tiger Woods was both the greatest athlete in the world at the moment, and the greatest golfer of all time.

FIVE LIVE GOLF VIEW
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"Whatever sport you play, you understand the game of golf has the greatest sportsman in the world playing it," he said.

"You could never say that in the era of Arnold Palmer or Seve Ballesteros.

"They were good, but the difference between this guy and the rest is phenomenal.

"We're lucky to have someone of his stature and ability. He helps the game in every sense. I feel he is the best player ever to play the game."



EUROPEAN RYDER CUP TEAM

 

US RYDER CUP TEAM

 

SEE ALSO
Baker's backing
06 Sep 06 |  Golf
K Club calling
28 Aug 06 |  Golf


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