Support Growing for Monty

By Associated PressJuly 15, 2004, 4:00 pm
TROON, Scotland -- The home fans were cheering their favorite son, and with each early birdie the buzz grew at Royal Troon. Colin Montgomerie, their Monty, was making a run in the British Open.

On a course he had played hundreds of times since his teens, Montgomerie moved in contention with three birdies on the front nine. He then overcame a mid-round crisis before recovering with two birdies for a 2-under-par 69.

'I was delighted,' Montgomerie said. 'I went out with one thought, and I told my caddie on the first tee, whatever happens today we're going to enjoy ourselves.'
 
It was the second best start in 15 Opens for Montgomerie, who imploded on this very course with an opening 76 seven years ago when he was Europe's top golfer and seemingly destined for a run at the one major he wants the most.

At 41, it is undoubtedly the Scotsman's last real chance at Royal Troon, where his father was once club secretary and where from age 16 on he honed his skills on the seaside links.

He arrived with baggage -- his marriage heading for divorce court and photographs of his wife with another man in the tabloids. He also arrived with a calmer sense of purpose. This is a player famous for storming off courses after failing at a major.

'This Open couldn't be at a better time, a better place right now for me,' he said after a round that included five birdies, three on 20-foot putts.

Though Montgomerie finished at 69, he had to regroup from the sort of trouble that could have finished him off at another time.
 
After three birdies on the front nine, Montgomerie double bogeyed the 10th after his second shot rolled down a greenside bank. He then pitched right through the green for his third. He followed with a bogey 5 at 11 after driving into a bush.

Montgomerie credited the fans who cheered his every move.

'I must say, I thank them terrifically for helping me on the 12th green,' he said. 'When I approached the 12th green, knowing I had dropped three shots in the last 20 minutes, that (applause) was fantastic and it enabled me to continue my round, so all thanks to them.'

Montgomerie won the Singapore Masters in March but hasn't had a top-10 finish since. He acknowledges his game is a long way from the streak in the 1990s when he led the European money list a record seven straight years.

The title in Singapore was his first outright victory in almost three years.

With his private life hitting the headlines and his 14-year marriage at an end, he says he has been receiving support from the public everywhere he goes.

'From taxi drivers in London stopping to people in the street to people at airports to anybody I meet in the public eye, I'm getting terrific support from everywhere, not just on the golf course,' he said.

'The letters of support I'm receiving, written and through e-mail, are quite incredible.'

Montgomerie hasn't ducked his problems and says he is emerging a better person.

'I'm not shying away from anything and I'm enjoying the whole experience of playing here in the Open championship,' he said. 'Whether that score is 75 or 65, I was going to enjoy myself.'
 
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    What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

    Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

    Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

    Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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    Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

    Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

    While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

    The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

    So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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    Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

    By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

    The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

    As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

    Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

    And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

    And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

    McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

    The Ryder Cup topped his list.

    Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

    When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

    “Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”



    McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

    Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

    “The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

    European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

    And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

    The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

    Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

    And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

    Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

    The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

    The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

    More bulletin board material, too.

    Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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    Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

    Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

    The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

    It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

    The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

    “I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

    Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.