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Euro-Ryder Cup Team Picked


Padraig Harrington of Ireland played his way onto his first Ryder Cup team Sunday, and captain Mark James gave Europe a truly green look by selecting Andrew Coltart as one his two captain's picks.

Harrington finished second behind Colin Montgomerie in the BMW International Open and moved up to 10th in the Ryder Cup standings, nudging out Robert Karlsson. James then rounded off the team with Jesper Parnevik and Coltart, a Scotsman who has never played in the matches and who has only one victory.

"Coltart has played more consistently since the U.S. Open than any of the other candidates," James said. "He's shown the most, and he's one of the Top 20 players in the world. It was a very difficult choice."

With Nick Faldo and the rest of Europe's old guard watching from home for the first time in 24 years, James will bring one of the most inexperienced teams over to The Country Club outside Boston next month as Europe tries to retain the Ryder Cup once again.

Faldo, Bernard Langer, Ian Woosnam, Seve Ballesteros and Sandy Lyle were regarded as the "Fab Five" in Europe -- at least one of them as played in every Ryder Cup since 1975.

Now, they have been replaced by a new generation.

The teams that will meet at Brookline. <b>
Harrington edges Robert Karlsson for the 10th spot. (AP)

Seven Europeans have never experienced a Ryder Cup -- Coltart, Harrington, Sergio Garcia, British Open champion Paul Lawrie, Jean Van De Velde, Miguel Angel Jménez and Jarmo Sandelin. Three others -- Parnevik, Lee Westwood and Darren Clarke -- have played in only one Ryder Cup.

The experience will come from Masters champion José Maria Olazábal, playing on his fifth team, and Montgomerie, who will be on his fourth team. Garcia, the 19-year-old Spaniard who finished second in the PGA Championship behind Tiger Woods, is the youngest player in Ryder Cup history.

The U.S. team, which captain Ben Crenshaw completed last week after the PGA Championship, has only one rookie -- David Duval.

"I think it's an excellent team," James said. "I think it's balanced and I think we have a good mix of different types of players and personalities. I'm confident we can win, because it doesn't matter who was there before. It's the standard of players we have this time."

Europe has won or retained the Ryder Cup five times in the past seven matches, although the Americans have been heavily favored each time.

James was thought to be leaning toward experience, but chose Coltart over Langer and Woosnam. He had told Faldo, who has played on every Ryder Cup team since 1977, that he would not make this one.

"I bumped into Mark in the hotel (Friday) night and asked him -- he said I was too far down the ladder," said a dejected Faldo, who had openly campaigned to make the team.

Montgomerie had hoped Faldo would be included.

The teams that will meet at Brookline. <b>
The teams that will meet at Brookline. (AP)

"The team that plays in Brookline will be weaker without Nick," Montgomerie said. "I would pick him, yes."

Montgomerie closed with a 70 for a 20-under 268 to win the BMW International by three strokes over Harrington, who shot a 72. Harrington needed to finish in the top two to make the Ryder Cup team, and made a 9-foot putt on the last hole to finish a stroke ahead of Jarrod Mosely for second.

"It'll sink in tomorrow what I've done," said an overjoyed Harrington."I won't sleep tonight -- I didn't sleep yesterday."

Europe's 12 players are all expected to be at Firestone Countr Club in Akron, Ohio, this week for the $5 million NEC Invitational, a World Golf Championship event for players on the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup teams.

©1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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