Ireland's Rory McIlroy in action at the Irish Open in Baltray

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  • Ryder Cup is 'just an exhibition game'
  • Not a huge goal for McIlroy
  • Montgomerie slams comments

Irish golf sensation Rory McIlroy has sparked a war of words after dismissing the Ryder Cup as an "exhibition game."

McIlroy, who is playing at the Irish Open in Baltray this week, said the Ryder Cup was just "not that important."

The golfer, who celebrated his 20th birthday on May 4, said "It's not a huge goal of mine. It's an exhibition at the end of the day. In the big scheme of things it's not that important an event for me."

"If I play well enough [to qualify] I play well enough. And if I don't, then so be it."

McIlroy is viewed by many as a future star for the European team and is expected to be a definite for the 2010 Ryder Cup in Wales.

Scottish golfer Colin  Montgomerie, who was once described by controversial golf analyst Dave Feherty as looking "like a bulldog that had just licked its own piss off a nettle," was the first to hit out at McIlroy's comments.

Montgomerie, who will captain Europe in Wales, said: "It's not an exhibition and it never will be," he argued. "It's a very unique, special event and much more nerve-wracking than a major.

"When you play in it you want to be there again and again."

Whatever way you slice it, there should be plenty to talk about on the course at Baltray today seeing as Montgomerie and McIlroy are playing together!