NEWPORT, Wales — For Tuesday’s practice rounds, Colin Montgomerie paired Edoardo and Francesco Molinari, and Rory McIlroy with U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell.
Word in the locker room is that the Northern Irishmen will lead off for Europe on Friday morning, and the Flying Molinari Brothers will debut in the afternoon foursomes.
“Me and Rory, first group out, Friday morning, we’d love that,” McDowell admitted. “We obviously talked about it.”
McIlroy, too, could barely control his excitement. “I’d love to hit the ball for Europe.”
Lee Westwood played the course for the first time ever and bagged three birdies in the first four holes. He was paired with the PGA champion, Martin Kaymer. With the Englishman’s straight driving, that looks like the more likely No. 1 pairing for Europe. They played with Peter Hanson and Miguel Angel Jimenez; a Friday afternoon session in the foursomes may be their first match.
Monty was perhaps playing mind games with his final four. He sent Padraig Harrington out with Ian Poulter, and Luke Donald with Ross Fisher. But Poulter and Fisher will surely resume their World Cup partnership in Friday’s four-balls, leaving Harrington to team up with Donald.
Has Monty revealed too much already? “We are going to chat about this and see how we want to progress,” he said. “But you can read more into the pairings possibly Wednesday and Thursday.”