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Ryder Cup 2010: Seve Ballesteros inspires Europe team


Monty reveals Seve's Ryder rallying call

38th Ryder Cup
Venue: Celtic Manor, Newport Date: 1-3 October Starts: 0745 BST on Friday Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live & online, live text commentary online & daily highlights on BBC TWO. Live on Sky Sports 1

Europe's Ryder Cup team received an inspiring phone call from Spanish legend Seve Ballesteros ahead of this weekend's contest at Celtic Manor.

Ballesteros had a glittering Ryder Cup career as a player and captain.

Skipper Colin Montgomerie said the call was "motivational" but also "sad", as Ballesteros is still recovering after operations to remove a brain tumour.

Wales rugby icon Gareth Edwards and former Ryder Cup skippers Ian Woosnam and Sam Torrance also met the team.

Ballesteros, who won five major championships, played in eight Ryder Cups - winning 20 and halving five of his 37 matches.

Seve Ballesteros
Ballesteros led Europe to victory in the 1997 Ryder Cup

His poor health means he will be unable to attend this year's event but Montgomerie says his speech on Tuesday was a massive inspiration to his team.

"The whole team spoke to Seve for about 10 minutes and that was very motivational, very passionate and also very sad to hear him, to hear the way he is," said Montgomerie.

"It was a real inspiration, especially for the rookies in the team, to speak to Seve and have Seve speak to them. It was on a speakerphone in our team room.

"We were just honoured to have him, have his presence in the room. It's always nice to not ever feel that Seve is forgotten by us or by European golf in any way, shape or form.

"It definitely bonds a team, if it needed bonding, together, very close, when Seve, our legend, speaks to us.

"It was just a very passionate speech that he used to give to the team 13 years ago when he was captain.

"The passion is very, very strong within Seve for us as a team and he just wishes that he could be here. Obviously he was invited to be here and he couldn't make it."

Montgomerie said the speeches from Ballesteros and Edwards were important and added that his team are determined to win back the trophy they lost in Valhalla in 2008.

Martin C

"It was protocol that I invited Gareth down to speak in our team room as the captain of the Celtic Manor Resort," said Montgomerie.

"Gareth is a legend in these parts and has to be Wales's most famous sportsman of all time. We had a fantastic speech by him.

"And I think it was only right to get Seve on the phone. Seve is our Ryder Cup and always will be.

"I just feel it was right for the rookies to hear that passion more than motivation from two of Europe's greatest sportsmen.

"I don't feel that the need of motivation was there. The passion was there. But motivation, we don't need motivation. Motivation came from losing two years ago."

Meanwhile, Padraig Harrington has said that being a European wildcard pick has reignited his enthusiasm for the Ryder Cup.

The Dubliner has not won a Ryder Cup match since 2004, admitting that his two major wins in 2008 had affected his hunger for the event at Valhalla.

"Being a wildcard makes you more enthusiastic," said the 39-year-old.

"It obviously puts you under a little bit more focus and brings certain expectations and certain pressure. It's certainly different."

Harrington reveals mentor role

Harrington insisted he is in a different frame of mind to when he played those Valhalla matches, which followed his wins in the 2008 Open and USPGA Championship.

He ended up playing four matches but only managed a half with Robert Karlsson in the day one foursomes contest against Phil Mickelson and Anthony Kim.

"I was tired that week," added Harrington. "I was on a little bit of a downer and it was a much tougher week.

"You tended to want to do your own thing, whereas this week I'm very much amongst the team and I want to help out as much as I can.

"Sometimes when you're coming off the highs of the summer, to go and do press and other things when you want to chill out, you're fighting against it.

"I can only describe that was my feeling at the last one. Everything, it was tough."

Harrington made a shaky start to the second practice session on Wednesday, firing his opening tee shot into the gallery while his second effort found a bunker.

"Today I started poorly and played well after that," he added. "It doesn't really count for much. Got to be Friday onwards, you've got to start good and keep going."

Europe had delayed their second practice after heavy overnight rain was followed by further downpours on Wednesday.

Hair-raising antics as Europeans practice

They went out at 1030 BST instead of 0830 BST in the hope of the conditions improving, but the United States team began playing on schedule at 0845 BST.

For Europe, Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy played with Luke Donald and Martin Kaymer, Harrington and Peter Hanson went out with Lee Westwood and Ross Fisher with Edoardo Molinari and his brother Francesco taking on Ian Poulter and Miguel Angel Jimenez.

United States skipper Corey Pavin was keen for his players to get used to the inclement conditions, with rain forecast for Friday and Sunday, although Saturday could see some sunny intervals.

Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker, who won four points out of four in the Presidents Cup last year, were together for the second day running, playing with 21-year-old Rickie Fowler and Jim Furyk.

World number two Mickelson was with Dustin Johnson, with the pair playing Bubba Watson and Jeff Overton.

Stewart Cink and Matt Kuchar were together once more and were playing with Zach Johnson and Hunter Mahan.

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see also
McIlroy 'may face Woods backlash'
29 Sep 10 |  Golf
Ryder Cup 2010: Wednesday photos
29 Sep 10 |  Golf
McIlroy stands by Woods comments
29 Sep 10 |  Golf
Harrington 'best' in Cup practice
28 Sep 10 |  Golf
Fans will respect us, says Pavin
28 Sep 10 |  Golf
Ryder Cup 2010: Tuesday photos
28 Sep 10 |  Golf

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