Slimmer Monty Ready for Ryder Cup

By Associated PressSeptember 15, 2004, 4:00 pm
04 Ryder CupBLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. -- Colin Montgomerie emerged from behind the ridge, making an immediate impression on the gallery camped around the 16th green at Oakland Hills Country Club.
'He's lost a lot of weight,' a woman said, a tinge of admiration in her voice. 'He used to be a pretty big guy.'
Not anymore. Once known derisively as 'Mrs. Doubtfire,' Montgomerie has slimmed down dramatically in the last two months, arriving for the Ryder Cup with 36 fewer pounds on his once-chubby frame.
Call him Monty Lite.
That's not the only change, either. Montgomerie went through a very public divorce from his wife of 14 years, Eimear, their split becoming final just last Friday.
He'll talk about his weight loss.
Don't bring up the other matter.
'Excuse me here for one second,' Montgomerie said Wednesday, responding tersely when someone asked what sort of emotional baggage he might be carrying into the America vs. Europe showdown.
'No personal questions will be answered here. I don't mean to be rude in any way. I'm just here for a team event, and if you keep your questions to a team format, that would be great. Thank you.'
OK, let's turn the subject to team golf. When it comes to the Ryder Cup, no one does it better than Montgomerie. Something about the format brings out the best in him, stoking his competitive fires like no other event.
Go ahead and heckle him, as the American fans did mercilessly at the 1999 Ryder Cup. The whole presentation made him an easy target -- the bulky shirt fighting a losing battle to conceal the girth underneath. The Europeans lost, but it wasn't Monty's fault. He was the best player on the course.
Now, they can't make fun of his physique, either. Maybe, in some subtle way, the memories of Brookline spurred him to knock off more than a few pounds.
'I just feel a little bit better about myself,' Montgomerie said, 'and self-esteem is huge in this game, especially when you're out in public an awful lot.'
With his personal life in turmoil -- he separated from his ex-spouse in April -- Montgomerie's game has suffered. He's plummeted to 62nd in the world rankings. He didn't qualify for one of the automatic spots on the European team, getting in with a captain's pick.
Actually, though, it was no-brainer to go with Monty, the state of his game notwithstanding. His record in six previous Ryder Cups is impeccable: 16-7-5, with not one of those defeats coming in singles.
'I think Montgomerie will rise to the occasion,' European captain Bernhard Langer said. 'We have players who will crumble, but he will pull it out. He's my No. 1.'
For some reason, Montgomerie always seems to wilt in the majors, the only tournaments where the pressure is comparable to a Ryder Cup. His record of despair is well documented: a playoff loss at the 1994 U.S. Open, a similar fate at the '95 PGA championship, another runner-up finish at the '97 U.S. Open.
At age 41, he's running out of chances to win his first major.
The Ryder Cup is another story. When Monty puts on one of those European shirts -- even a smaller size, thank you -- his entire mind-set seems to change.
He's the go-to guy for an entire continent. If the Ryder Cup is to be his legacy, he'll gladly take it.
'I think my character and my personality comes out in this event,' Montgomerie said. 'I really do enjoy it. When you enjoy something, you're usually quite good at it.'
While the crowds at Oakland Hills will undoubtedly be pro-American, Monty doesn't expect to face the sort of nationalistic vitriol that came his way five years ago.
'I don't think that Brookline will appear again,' he said. 'The world is a different place, a better place. I don't think we'll have that situation at all.'
Not that it seems to rattle Monty. As Phil Mickelson pointed out, any overzealous U.S. fan who might be tempted to heckle the persnickety Brit should consider the ramifications.
'Nobody was more impressed than I was in '99 when he took a lot of ribbing and was able to perform at the highest level of anybody there,' Mickelson said. 'So maybe that's kind of a word to the wise than we shouldn't (tick) him off. Maybe we should just downplay it a little bit and not agitate him so much.'
If Wednesday's practice round was any indication, Monty will be treated with a delicate touch at this Ryder Cup.
There were no boos, no snide remarks. He even spotted a group of fans wearing Union Jack-themed shirts and hats, motioning them under the rope to pose for an impromptu picture in the middle of the 17th fairway.
'Keep smiling, Monty!' someone yelled.
He looked back, acknowledging the support with a big grin.
Clearly, he was right where he wanted to be.
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    Day, Spieth chasing Davis after Day 1 of Aussie Open

    By Jason CrookNovember 23, 2017, 6:50 am

    The PGA Tour is off this week but a couple of the circuit’s biggest stars – Jordan Spieth and Jason Day – are headlining the Emirates Australian Open, the first event in The Open Qualifying Series for the 2018 Open at Carnoustie. Here's how things look after the opening round, where Cameron Davis has opened up a two-shot lead:

    Leaderboard: Cameron Davis (-8), Taylor MacDonald (-6), Nick Cullen (-5), Jason Day (-5), Brian Campbell (-4), Lucas Herbert (-4), Stephen Leaney (-4), Anthony Quayle (-4)

    What it means: Jordan Spieth has won this event three of the last four years, including last year, but he got off to a rocky start on Thursday. Playing in the windy afternoon wave, the world No. 2 bogeyed his first two holes but rebounded with birdies on Nos. 4 and 5. It was more of the same the rest of the way as the 24-year-old carded three more bogeys and four birdies, getting into the clubhouse with a 1-under 70. While it certainly wasn't the start he was hoping for, Spieth didn't shoot himself out of the tournament with 54 holes left to play, he has plenty of time to claw his way up the leaderboard.

    Round of the day: With Round 1 in the books, the solo leader, Davis, is the easy pick here. The 22-year-old Aussie who turned pro last year, came out of the gates on fire, birdieing six of his first seven holes, including four in a row on Nos. 4 through 7. He did drop a shot on the ninth hole to go out in 30 but rebounded with three more birdies on the back to card a 8-under 63. Davis, who was born in Sydney and played this year on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada. He will attempt to get his Tour card next month during qualifying in Arizona.

    Best of the rest: Making his first start in his home country in four years, Day started on the 10th hole at The Australian Golf Club and made four birdies to one bogey on the back side before adding four more circles after making the turn. Unfortunately for the 30-year-old, he also added an ugly double-bogey 6 on the par-4 eighth hole and had to settle for a 5-under 66, good enough to sit T-3. Day, who has dropped to No. 12 in the world rankings, is looking for his first win on any tour since the 2016 Players Championship.

    Main storyline heading into Friday: Can the upstart 22-year-old Davis hold off the star power chasing him or will he fold to the pressure of major champions in his rearview mirror? Day (afternoon) and Spieth (morning) are once again on opposite ends of the draw on Friday as they try to improve their position before the weekend.

    Shot of the day: It’s tough to beat an ace in this category, and we had one of those on Thursday from Australian Brad Shilton. Shilton’s hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole came with a special prize, a $16k watch.

    Quote of the day: “Just two bad holes. Pretty much just two bad swings for the day,” – Day, after his 66 on Thursday. 

    Watch: Shilton wins $16k timepiece with hole-in-one

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 2:50 am

    Australian Brad Shilton made a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole during the first round of the Australian Open, and he was rewarded handsomely for his efforts - with a Tag Heuer watch worth $16k.

    Day gets in early mix with 66 in return to Australia

    By Associated PressNovember 23, 2017, 2:32 am

    SYDNEY - Jason Day's first tournament round in Australia in four years was a 5-under 66 to put him among the leaders early Thursday at the Australian Open.

    Day's round came unhinged late with a double-bogey 6 on the par-4 eighth hole, his second-last of the day. He hit his tee shot into the trees on the left, hit back out to the fairway, missed his approach to the green and then couldn't get up and down.

    ''That was brutal,'' Day said of the 481-yard hole that played into gusting winds.

    But Day recovered quickly to birdie his last to sit three strokes behind fellow Australian and early leader Cameron Davis, who started on the first, had six front-nine birdies and shot 63 at The Australian Golf Club.

    In between the two was Australian Taylor MacDonald, who shot 65.

    ''It was a pretty solid round, I didn't miss many fairways, I didn't miss many greens,'' Day said. ''I'd give myself a seven or eight out of 10.''

    Defending champion Jordan Spieth, attempting to win the Australian Open for the third time in four years, was off to a poor start among the afternoon players, bogeying his first two holes.

    The Sydney-born Davis played most of this season on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada and will attempt to secure his card in the final round of qualifying from Dec. 7-10 in Chandler, Arizona.

    ''Everything went to plan,'' Davis said. ''I got off to a great start. I was hitting my spots and was able to keep it together on the back nine.''

    NOTES: Australian Brad Shilton had the first ace of the tournament, using a 5-iron for a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole, his second hole of the day. Australian veteran Geoff Ogilvy, the 2006 U.S. Open winner, shot 69. He and Rod Pampling (68) played the first round with Day.

    Day: Woods feeling good, hitting it long

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 22, 2017, 9:33 pm

    Jason Day says Tiger Woods told him he feels better than he has in three years, which is good news for Woods a week ahead of his return to the PGA Tour at the Hero World Challenge.

    Day, a fellow Nike endorser, was asked about Woods during his news conference at the Emirates Australian Open on Wednesday. "I did talk to him," Day said, per a report in the Sydney Morning Herald,"and he did say it's the best he's ever felt in three years'" Day said.

    "He doesn't wake up with pain anymore, which is great. I said to him, 'Look, it's great to be one of the best players ever to live, but health is one thing that we all take for granted and if you can't live a happy, healthy life, then that's difficult.'"

    The Hero World Challenge will be played Nov. 30-Dec. 3 in the Bahamas and broadcast on Golf Channel and NBC.

    Day, who has had his own health issues, said he could empathize with Woods.

    "I totally understand where he's coming from, because sometimes I wake up in the morning and it takes me 10 minutes to get out of bed, and for him to be in pain for three years is very frustrating."

    Woods has not played since February after undergoing surgery following a recurrence of back problems.

    "From what I see on Instagram and what he's been telling me, he says he's ready and I'm hoping that he is, because from what I hear, he's hitting it very long," Day said.

    "And if he's hitting it long and straight, then that's going to be tough for us because it is Tiger Woods. He's always been a clutch putter and in amongst the best and it will be interesting to see.

    "There's no pressure. I think it's a 17- or 18-man field, there's no cut, he's playing at a tournament where last year I think he had the most birdies at."