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European captain Colin Montgomerie has played in eight Ryder Cups, and he's hoping his first-year guys -- there's also Martin Kaymer, Ross Fisher and Peter Hanson -- will be able to draw on some of his experiences.
"I've always hit my putts slightly firmer in Ryder Cup play, personally, and I'm trying to pass on that knowledge to the rookies," he said. "I've been very lucky with the partners that I've had in my foursomes and fourball play. ... It's allowed me the freedom to hit my putts firmer than I would have done normally, and it's amazing how many of them go in."
Montgomerie was mindful of his team's youth when he chose three-time major champion Padraig Harrington with one of his three wild-card picks. Plus, he's got some possible pairings that will mitigate the inexperience factor. The Molinaris are the most obvious example. And he'll likely put McIlroy with U.S. Open champ Graeme McDowell in a Northern Irish duo.
As for the Americans, they're hoping to recapture the camaraderie they had two years ago, despite having only five holdovers from that team.
Watson has emerged as the candidate to fill Weekley's role as team jester.
"Bubba is not quite as funny as Boo," Stricker said. "What is the word, `compatibate,' that Boo came up with at Valhalla? We have not got to that point with Bubba. But he's very light. He's very vocal at times."
Stricker said he's comfortable with the makeup of the U.S. team, even with so many newcomers. As the Europeans have shown so many times -- and the Americans picked up on in 2008 -- being able to "compatibate" often plays nearly as important a role as pure shot-making in a Ryder Cup.
"It's a great mix of guys," Stricker said of his team. "We have some guys that have a tremendous amount of experience, and we have some guys with no experience, and we have some guys in the middle. We are all getting along nicely. It's fun to go in the team room. Everyone is very relaxed and light so far, and hopefully we can keep it that way."
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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