Laird takes his mind off Ryder Cup spot

Martin Laird tees off at The Barclays.
Martin Laird tees off at The Barclays. ( Associated Press )

Saturday, August 28, 2010

PARAMUS, N.J. – As if Colin Montgomerie didn’t have enough Ryder Cup headaches, what with Edoardo Molinari, Justin Rose, Padraig Harrington, Paul Casey and Luke Donald providing him with a multitude of choices for just three spots, Martin Laird has made things even stickier.

Hey, leading by three after three rounds of The Barclays and being Scottish-born, he’s Ryder Cup material, no?

Laird smiled.

“I’ve not got that (pressure) on me,” he said.

Flattered though he may have been to be associated with a Ryder Cup pick, Laird was telling the truth. Even a victory wouldn’t elevate him into the picture, which is understandable.

“I’ve not played well enough this year to think I was a consideration. So I guess some other guys are probably playing this week with a little extra pressure on them.”

He was referring to Rose (T-5), Harrington (T-12), Casey (T-12) and Donald (T-28, who combined to go 10 under in Round 3 and secure solid positions on the leaderboard in an effort to show European Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie that they are in form.

Adding even greater flavor to the scenario is the fact that Molinari is just one off the lead at the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles, trailing his brother, Francesco.

That door you heard slamming was Captain Montgomerie heading back to the war room, armed with a bottle of aspirin.

Then again, according to Rose, he shouldn’t need them. He used his own situation to point out just how this appears to be an embarrassment of riches.

“I’m not a lock,” Rose said after firing 6-under 65 to get into a share of fifth, five back. “I’m 22nd in the world, won twice on the PGA Tour and won quality golf tournaments, but it just shows (Monty’s) in a great position, really.”

Even if Montgomerie can’t help but crush the spirits of a few players, one of whom could be Rose? The Englishman shrugged his shoulders, but indeed, he believes Montgomerie is dealing from a position of great strength.

“He’s got five great guys to pick three from. For us as individuals, it’s a difficult situation. As a team, he’s in a strong situation. If he had five guys who were (not playing well), and he was like, ‘Oh, dear, I don’t want any of them on my team,’ then he’d be struggling. But that’s not the case.”

No question, Rose believes he belongs on the team, but he’s quick to add that Casey (ninth), Donald (ranked 10th), Harrington (18th) and Edoardo Molinari (21st) all sit ahead of him in the world order, so it appears impossible to not make at least two players very disappointed.

“I think the guys who’ve played great golf are on the team and some big name players you’d expect to be on the team are not,” Rose said.

“But the fact is, all the guys who are on the team are form players and that’s what you want for the Ryder Cup.”