European Ryder Cup veteran Colin Montgomerie is full of confidence ahead of next week’s clash with the USA at the K Club in Ireland, but has warned that the European team would be going into the contest with more pressure on them than in recent years.

Montgomerie holed the winning putt for Europe at Oakland Hills in 2004 and has stated that Ian Woosnam’s team for this year’s contest is the strongest ever. However, they will have to cope with the burden of expectation from the home crowd, punters and the bookmakers, who have installed Europe as firm favourites to overcome Tom Lehman’s US team.

“I’ve played in the last seven Ryder Cups and we were underdogs,” he said.

“This time we’re favourites and are expected to win, which puts us in a very different position than we’re used to. The Americans haven’t put a foot wrong in their preparation so once again it will come down to someone’s putt on the final day. That’s what has made the Ryder Cup famous and is why it makes for great sport and television.”

Montgomerie also praised his team-mates, including controversial wildcard choices Lee Westwood and Darren Clarke, saying that captain Woosnam had an incredibly strong group of players to choose from.

“Europe have about 20 players who would be very capable of playing on the team,” he said.

“Only 12 of us can go, however. Woosie has made his brave choices for the wildcards, which is never easy. Lee and Darren will obviously strengthen the team.”