Monty: Ryder course setup ‘very fair’

Graeme McDowell on the 18th hole at the Twenty Ten Course during the 2010 Celtic Manor Wales Open.

Graeme McDowell on the 18th hole at the Twenty Ten Course during the 2010 Celtic Manor Wales Open.


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NEWPORT, Wales – Not only does the home team at the Ryder Cup have the support of the partisan galleries, but it also has control over the course setup. European captain Colin Montgomerie said he didn’t tinker with Celtic Manor’s Twenty Ten Course, but it does seem the setup will still favor the European team.

“I haven’t played around with the golf course at all,” Montgomerie said in Monday’s news conference. “This golf course is set up in a very, very fair manner to allow the best team to win.”

But Montgomerie did compare the course to a “European Tour setup,” which should help the hosts. The course will be less severe than what PGA Tour players face on a weekly basis. The greens are rolling between 10 1/2 and 11 on the Stimpmeter, slightly slower than PGA Tour standards. That should play into European hands.

Celtic Manor’s fescue rough will be kept at a playable 2 1/2 inches just off the fairway. Players that stray far from Celtic Manor’s generous fairways will find patchy rough that is between 4 and 4 3/4 inches long, according to the course setup notes.

“The rough is graded very fairly,” Montgomerie said.

European assistant captain Thomas Bjorn thinks the rough will present a larger advantage than Montgomerie indicated. Europe is thought to be the more accurate of the two teams.

“The rough is very severe,” Bjorn told Sky Sports on Monday. “I think this golf course is one of those that will penalize you if you miss the fairways. But it is quite generous off the tee - they are not the narrowest of fairways.

“We believe our guys are very strong drivers of the golf ball. That should benefit us.”

Montgomerie said he’s avoided some of the tactics employed by past captains, such as pinching fairways at 300 yards off the tee to curtail the United States’ length advantage, or letting the greens grow to throw off the U.S. players’ distance control.

U.S. captain Corey Pavin said he’s happy with what he’s heard about Celtic Manor.

“I’m glad it’s set up fairly, because I think that’s the way the matches are meant to be played, in fairness and in great sportsmanship, and I think that’s what Colin is striving to do here,” Pavin said.

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