Ryder Cup intrigue continues to rise

September, 22, 2010

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.

Jason Sobel | email

ESPN Senior Writer



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