Category archive: Luke Donald

ATLANTA -- There was news on Wednesday that Colin Montgomerie has not only finalized his opening day pairings for next week's Ryder Cup, but has already informed each of the 12 players on his team.

The story isn't the stuff of tabloid legend, either, since it came straight from the European skipper himself.

"The players know already," Monty said from France, site of this week's Vivendi Cup. "It's important to let the players know earlier than not. There's no point in me keeping secrets."

Secrets. Fabrications. Lies. Call 'em what you like, but something isn't adding up, because according to at least one team member, such information has yet to be revealed.

"If he said that, he hasn't told me yet," Luke Donald, the only Euro Ryder Cup player in the field at the Tour Championship, told ESPN.com. "I have no idea. I haven't talked to Monty."

Sounds like a clear case of he said-he said, but which man is showing his best poker face? Either it's Montgomerie, who might be playing a bit of gamesmanship by seeming to be prepared more than a week before next Friday's opening matches, or Donald, who doesn't want to confirm his captain's master plan beforehand.

When it was suggested to the 32-year-old native of England that it was maybe just a case of spotty cell phone service at East Lake GC, he quickly discredited that theory.

"[Monty] texted me today, about half an hour ago," Donald allowed at approximately 3:45 p.m. ET. "He said, 'I'm looking forward to seeing you on Monday.'"

Asked if he would like to know his initial pairing -- the captain maintained that all dozen players would compete over the first two sessions -- Donald contended that it's too early to make such a decision.

"Obviously when we get there, he'll ask us who we'd like to play with," he said, "but in the end he's going to make that decision."

Donald also toed the company line in regard to his potential partners for the proceedings.

"I think I'm easy to pair with. I think I can play with anyone," he said before naming Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer and Ian Poulter each as viable options. "I'll be happy to play whenever he wants me to play."

Someone isn't telling the truth here. Either the captain is posing a major bluff in advance of the competition or one of his wild-card selections is efficiently keeping his lips sealed for now.

We likely won't find out until next week, when Monty is finally forced to reveal his hand. For now, though, it offers even more intrigue into an increasingly fascinating plotline before the Ryder Cup.

Jason Sobel is a golf writer for ESPN.com. He can be reached at Jason.Sobel@espn.com.

PARAMUS, N.J. -- Luke Donald had just completed a blistering front nine in 7-under 28 at the Barclays when he was asked by an on-course radio announcer whether he wanted to learn his Ryder Cup fate.

The Englishman acknowledged that he did, then rejoiced when informed he was one of European captain Colin Montgomerie's three wild-card selections.

Actually, he may have rejoiced a little too much.

Donald followed that scorching pace by posting a back-nine 40 that was still pretty easy to swallow considering the news of the day.

"It was a round of two halves," he explained. "Got thrown off a little bit probably from all the Ryder Cup thoughts and knowing that I was in and knowing who wasn't in and who was in. But that's my fault. I didn't compartmentalize enough and hit a few loose shots on the back nine."

Padraig Harrington can empathize. Another captain's selection playing at Ridgewood Country Club -- thousands of miles from the announcement at the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles in Scotland -- he admitted to a lack of focus throughout the round.

That goes for both before and after his wife, Caroline, gave him the thumbs-up signal on the sixth hole, relaying the info that he had made the team.

"If she didn't talk to me for three or four holes, I would know the other way," he said with a laugh. "It wasn't a case of wanting to know. I didn't have an option. Somebody was going to shout it out to me. Somebody was going to tell me, so I might as well have my wife."

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Luke Donald
Scott Halleran/Getty ImagesLuke Donald's 28 on the front nine at the Barclays came without his knowing if he had made the European Ryder Cup team. Once he got the good news at the turn, however, Donald shot 40 on the homeward nine.

That led to a few awkward hours on the course, though, as playing partner Paul Casey in effect found out the news without hearing anything at all. No thumbs-up meant no roster spot for the world's No. 9-ranked player.

"I probably need time to take it in," he said. "Simple fact is, I'm not on the team. And I think Europe, they've got an unbelievable team. I wish them the best for the match, simple as that. I'm not going to stand here and sort of plead a case for why I should be on the team. It's done and dusted. I tried my hardest and I didn't make it."

If misery loves company, at least Casey can lean on Justin Rose, who also failed to make the team despite a pair of wins on the PGA Tour this season.

All of which leads to the second-guessing that will surround Monty's selections. His picks -- which also included Johnnie Walker winner Edoardo Molinari in addition to Donald and Harrington -- will be analyzed and criticized up to and beyond the competition itself.

With five world-class players from which to choose, the captain couldn't go wrong. And yet, if his team doesn't triumph in Wales, he will have never had it right.

Really, though, only time will tell.

Much like the punditry that accompanies a presidential election or the NFL draft, immediate reactions to the Ryder Cup picks should be taken with a few grains of salt, considering they are more opinion than anything based on fact.

For those who want to wail about the ineffectiveness of Monty failing to name one of the top 10 players in the Official World Golf Ranking and another who is one of only five multiple winners in the U.S. this year, it should be pointed out that these picks can't be determined as incorrect ones until the Ryder Cup has been played and we see how the players fare.

Besides, here's the most important thing that many observers seem to forget: Captain's picks shouldn't be rewards for the players who have fared best over the course of a season. They should be reserved for the players who can win the most points for their side during the competition.

This notion won't serve as consolation for Casey and Rose -- or their supporters, for that matter -- but it should be enough to keep Monty clear of the firing squad. Well, until October, at least.

Jason Sobel is a golf writer for ESPN.com. He can be reached at Jason.Sobel@espn.com.